Oak Harbor to see the lights



Tammany share comes to $40,000

Saturday, April 24, 2004
St. Tammany bureau

St. Tammany Parish officials signed a contract with the state Thursday to pay for 10 percent of the costs of a $400,000 project to install street lights at the Oak Harbor interchange on Interstate 10 south of Slidell.

The project is being designed by the state Department of Transportation and Development and is on the fast track, Parish President Kevin Davis said.

"This will provide a quick and dramatic improvement for the thousands of residents who use this interchange," Davis said. "Lighting improves vehicle safety. It will also dramatically improve visibility for the existing and proposed businesses in this fast-growing area."

The parish is paying its $40,000 share of the project with developmental impact fees collected in the area, Davis said. The state is paying for the remainder of the project.

Davis also said the parish has hired a consultant to draw up plans to extensively landscape the Oak Harbor interchange and the Louisiana 434 interchange on Interstate 12 north of Lacombe.

The plans, being done by Kyle and Associates, are expected to be completed next month, Davis said, and the parish will seek federal money for the projects through the Regional Planning Commission next fiscal year.

The preliminary design for Oak Harbor calls for mass plantings on all four corners of the entrance and exit ramps. Cold-resistant palm trees, pampas grass, hawthorns and sago palms are included in the design.

The Oak Harbor interchange is "a critical entrance point to St. Tammany Parish," Davis said. "As visitors cross Lake Pontchartrain on Interstate 10, this is our first opportunity to make a great impression. Good impressions help build tourism and business for St. Tammany."

At Louisiana 434 and I-12, the preliminary design incorporates existing stands of trees, which will be thinned to allow a better environment for the healthiest trees, Davis said. Mass accent plantings of purple leaf barberry and evergreen daylilies also are in the design. Davis said he plans to seek federal money annually through the Regional Planning Commission to eventually landscape all interstate interchanges in the parish.

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