It's taken 18 months, and $7.5 million, but the new Sangani Boulevard flyover in D'iberville is now open to traffic.
At precisely 8:37am Thursday morning, the barrels were moved, the traffic lights came on, and cars started driving over the flyover. The ones we talked to were impressed.
"Oh, it's awesome," Bill Charrier said. "It's going to help
with the traffic around here. Looking forward to it, glad that they've
changed it up and got this thing finally open."
"It's great because there won't be more traffic like it used to be," Donald Brune said.
Even out of town visitors like Stacey Nolan were taken with the view from above.
"I'm from Watson, Louisiana," Nolan said. "I got turned around, but I was excited because the guy said, 'It's open.' So I just told him, 'Let's see what's on the other side.' And so, it's really nice."
There's no doubt the flyover overpass on Sangani will provide a lot of extra convenience for shoppers and the merchants who own businesses in the Lakeview Village and Promenade shopping centers. But it's also going to make travel in the area safer, because drivers won't have to cross over lanes of traffic to enter the shopping centers.
"Well, it means obviously less accidents and less injuries," said Captain Clay Jones with the D'Iberville Police Department. "Hopefully nothing major anymore with a major intersection like that and when you have a red light at a major intersection. So that takes it out of the equation."
Even so, this is just the beginning of changes at the busy shopping complex. Chuck Starita is the MDOT project engineer.
"We still got more work to come that's already scheduled and in the design phase. That's coming out not too far from now. So we could be talking about many years still to come," Starita said.
But Thursday's opening was a good first step.
Officials with MDOT said they'll be on this job for about another month, putting the final touches on the project. That work includes paving, striping, and installing permanent directional signage.
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