DENHAM SPRINGS - Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks' State of the Parish address focused on traffic flow Wednesday.

About 200 parish business leaders came to hear the report from Ricks. Leaders in Livingston Parish say their main priority is easing traffic congestion.

Ricks says the concrete is finally pouring for Juban Crossing and the third stage of the I-12 widening project begins next month. Ricks says growth is taking a toll on parish roads. They're repairing and restructuring multiple bridges in the parish with state funding.

In the meantime, the parish is operating without a budget because the parish council can't find common ground. Council Chairman Ricky Goff says they're putting their differences behind them and getting closer to having a 2014 budget. He says leaders are working on possible routes to connect Livingston and Ascension Parishes.

"Our biggest concern right now is traffic flow on the interstate at Walker, because when it backs up Walker South, there's no way to fix that, without having the state, but they're looking at it and it is a process and it will probably be another three years," said Board chairman Ricky Goff.

Local business owners say they're happy to move forward on the inter-parish connection.

"Something that avoids the 10-12 split and something that avoids a part of the congestion right at the parish between east Baton Rouge and Livingston would be a wonderful move on the part of this state," said John Ware, Executive Director of Dixie Business Center in Livingston.

Ricks and the council say they have a couple of routes in the works to make that happen. They are still in the beginning of five phases, and don't expect action for another couple of years.

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