COVINGTON -  The Trophy Shop on Lee Road and Collins Boulevard has seen the community around it grow significantly over the past 25 years, including the car count.

"It has increased a lot since we came here," said Husein Patwa, "It was easy to make out from here, but now it's so congested. It's too much traffic."

That intersection, south to the Bogue Falaya Bridge, and over it, has been a significant snarl point for commuters for too long.

A four-part, three-mile, $103 million project is on the move to make it better over the next five to ten years, though only the first half is funded as of now.

Phase 1 will put a second bridge over the Bogue Falaya creating four total travel lanes.  Though engineering and survey work is already underway, a groundbreaking for this part of the project could take place by early 2021.  

Phase 2-A calls for creating a roundabout where Highway 190 becomes Highway 25.  Phase 2-B upgrades Collins from Lee Road to Highway 25 with more roundabouts and Phase 3 replaces the old Bogue Falaya Bridge and adds even more roundabouts in the Claiborne Hill area.

"We're looking for if they have positive comments about how they think this will help them," said Regional Planning Commission Deputy Director Jeff Roesel, "If there's a particular problem with a particular issue, we'd like to hear that too."

While the project is great news for many, it's bad news for some, since right now, the plan calls for relocating three homes and almost 30 businesses.  Though developers say that is a worst-case scenario, and the effects will likely be more along the lines of changes in access to the businesses, The Trophy Shop is in that number.

But the brothers that run it are taking the possible sacrifice in stride.

"People know us. And I want to have a business where somebody needs something, they're going to find us," said Hassan Patwa, "And people have been finding us."

They, like many, say if it's for the greater good, it'll be worth it.

Comments can be submitted by mail to Jeff Robinson, 8282 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806.
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