U.S. 165 lighting project not expected to start until 2022

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 11:07 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The dangers of U.S. Highway 165 are well documented.

On Friday, Jan. 29, Shedricka Hollins, 18, and Brianna Neal, 17, were killed in a hit-and-run accident while attempting to cross the highway, just south of LA Highway 15.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation has a plan in place to add lights along the highway, but bids on the project aren’t expected to start until May 2022.

District F Police Juror Lonnie Hudson said the police jury is looking at ways to speed up the process.

“We do know the project is in the works. The funding is there. Construction won’t start until 2022, but however we are doing everything we can to speed up the process,” Hudson said.

In the meantime, one man said he’s willing to fund a lighting project himself if it means preventing another unnecessary accident.

Michael Tolliver owns Quickway Gas Station, which is the same store Hollins and Neal were leaving from right before they were killed. He said he’s prepared to spend his own money to get the project started.

“I have kids coming across there 7 and 6-years-old crossing that highway and it’s so scary to see this every day,” Michael Tolliver said.

Tolliver said he’s spoken with his attorney, and has called on the help of Representative Fred Jones and retired Senator Charles Jones to spearhead the project.

He said he’ll never forget the moments from that night.

“I spoke to them and they disappeared in the dark. By the next two minutes I jumped and said, ‘what was that?’ I went in to speak to one of employees and asked them, ‘did you hear that? Something happened,’” Tolliver said.

Tolliver said he doesn’t want to wait until another child is killed to see something change.

“I’ve probably only had 14 hours of sleep since this happened Friday, and I’m just crying and hoping that I can cry myself out at night,” Tolliver said.

Officials are urging people to remain aware of traffic, wear light clothes, carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear while crossing the highway at night.

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