East Baton Rouge Parish has recently completed the Mississippi River Levee Bicycle Path from downtown Baton Rouge to the LSU campus. Some would like to extend it all the way to New Orleans.
A recently completed stretch of paved bike path that runs atop the Mississippi River levee from downtown Baton Rouge to LSU soon could be extended all the way to New Orleans.East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parishes are now in the breakaway, the state needs to suck wheels and catch up to get the project going.
The proposed levee bike path would run an estimated 110 miles and cost an estimated $33 million.
The first step is to complete a $250,000 master plan that could qualify the project for federal funds likely to cover 80 percent of construction costs. The other 20 percent would come from local and state sources.
Pete Newkirk, public works director for the city-parish government, said he plans to ask the Metro Council Wednesday to chip in $12,500 to help fund the $250,000 study.
Bruce Wickert, an experienced cyclist who the heads the local Metropolitan Planning Organization's Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said a bike path has already been constructed from Audubon Park in New Orleans north almost to Norco.
Wickert said that if the proposed Mississippi River Levee Bike Path becomes a reality, it will likely be used in segments for recreational purposes.
"But you could travel the whole 110 miles about six hours at a moderate pace of about 17 mph," Wickert said.