Ascension Parish has entered a critical period of its history. The Parish and its citizens have enjoyed population and economic growth. In order to maximize the benefits from this growth and to continue to attract additional economic opportunities in the future, the infrastructure across the Parish must be comprehensive, multi-modal, and supportive of the overarching vision the Parish leadership has for the future. The Parish has created the Move Ascension program of transportation projects to jump start their long-term transportation improvement program. The Move Ascension initiative is a multi-million dollar transportation infrastructure improvement program developed to safely move traffic within and across Ascension Parish. On September 7, 2017, the first design task order was issued to begin work with a pre-construction deadline of December 2018. The Transportation & Engineering Department has issued design task orders for 19 projects that are funded through to construction. Please view the Projects page to view all MA projects in addition to task orders issued for traffic flow improvements.
Below are answers to several questions we frequently receive about the Move Ascension program. If your question is not listed, we invite you to submit it via the Contact page.
1. What is a Safety Widening?
Upgrading the existing roadway cross section by increasing lane width, adding appropriate shoulders and drainage ditch reconfiguration to provide a safer travel experience.
2. “Traffic Study”, “Impact Study”, “Operational Analysis”… What’s the difference?
Public investment in roads must go through a cost/benefit analysis before a project gets the “go-ahead”. All of the above studies are variations of tools used by traffic engineers and transportation planners to evaluate each project so that they may be reasonably compared to other road projects competing for the same funding.
- A Traffic Study is a detailed examination and analysis of a tranportation system supported by data collection. It is conducted by governmental officials, often through a service contract with a private consulting firm. “What is a Traffic Study” fact sheet (PDF)
- A Traffic Impact Study (TIS) is a study often required due to a change in land use, such as construction of a new housing development or expansion of a shopping center. It is often conducted by the private developer and supplied to the local government for evaluation.
- A Traffic Operational Analysis is a simplified traffic impact study conducted for smaller developments such as gas stations. It is similar to the TIS above but less rigorous, and is similarly conducted by the private developer.
3. What is the Pre-Construction Phase?
Within the project life cycle, the goal of the Pre-Construction Phase is to design a 100% complete set of Plans and Specifications that are ready to be bid. In order to get to the bid phase, there is a substantial amount of work that goes into developing the final design plans and specifications for a roadway project. Some of the tasks associated with getting to the final design include: topographic survey, Subsurface Utility Engineering(SUE), geotechnical design, utility coordination, property surveys, right of way (R/W) map development, R/W acquisition, utility relocation and project permitting.
4. Can you explain the differences between road repair, road rehabilitation and road reconstruction?
Road Repair - To restore to safe condition after damage has occurred. Used for localized problems such as potholes, areas of pavement deterioration or concrete faulting. Typical repair methods include pothole filling, skin patching, partial depth patching/repair, full depth repair, or a single concrete panel repair.
Road Rehabilitation - To restore to near original condition. Used for distressed streets where the overall ride has degraded. Typical methods used are asphalt overlay or multiple concrete panel replacement.
Road Reconstruction - To comprehensively rebuild to a new condition with current criteria. Used to rebuild subgrade, roadway base, new roadway surface, roadway appurtenances, signalization, signage, marking, lighting, trees and plantings (if app), and may also include replacement of utility lines located within the road right of way.
5. What determines how an intersection is improved?
Intersections are identified for improvement by observation and the analysis of data collected in the field (i.e. peak hour traffic counts, travel times, crash history to name a few). Once the data existing data is evaluated and problems identified, improvement alternatives are identified. Types of improvements include providing signalization, adding turn lanes at various approaches, roundabouts, etc. The list of improvements is further evaluated to determine which improvement provides the most benefit to the traffic operations (reduction in time to travel through the intersection) and safety (number of reduced crashes), which is done using traffic modeling software. Finally, a benefit/cost value is issued to each option and the appropriate intersection improvement alternative is selected and implemented.
6. Are any property taxes dedicated to capital road improvements?
NO. Property taxes are not dedicated to funding transportation projects.
7. What local tax dollars are spent on road improvements?
Transportation improvement projects, including the Move Ascension Initiative, are funded by two-thirds (2⁄3) of a 1⁄2% sales tax from Sales and Use District #2, which yields between $6-7 million per year. These local tax dollars are also used for “match” contributions on state and federal projects within Ascension Parish.
8. Why did Ascension Parish have to sell $25 million in bonds?
In an effort to expedite the design and construction of multiple transportation improvement projects identified by the Transportation Department, Parish Administration brought a $25 million dollar bond sale alternative to the Parish Council for approval. The proceeds from the bond sale have allowed the Move Ascension Initiative to quickly issue task orders to begin design efforts in order to more quickly advance these transportation projects to construction.
9. Why does the Parish have to pay for Utilities to relocate for improvements?
Utilities are sometimes located in utility servitudes and not in the Parish road Right of Ways (i.e. property owned by the Parish); therefore it is the Parish’s responsibility to bear the expense of the acquisition and relocation of the utility when expanding the road Right of Way. However, in many cases of the Move Ascension Program, the utilities are located within the Parish’s existing Right-of-Way, so the cost for relocation in these situations are being borne by the utility companies themselves.
If you haven’t found the answer for your question please feel free to contact us. Our staff will be happy to help you.