The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and I10 BR Team presented the state’s plan to widen Interstate 10 between the Mississippi River bridge and I-10/12 split to about 200 West Side residents, Wednesday, Aug. 29.
The public meeting was the second of three presented in the Baton Rouge Metro area. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson called the project a “regional approach” to the traffic issues that plague the Capital Region.
The proposed project will add lanes in each direction along the 3.5-mile corridor between the new bridge and I-10/12 split. It will also add a lane in West Baton Rouge going in both directions along I-10 between the Mississipi River Bridge and La. 415 in Port Allen. It will also consolidate the Washington and Dalrymple exits in Baton Rouge.
Although La. 1 and the Intracoastal won’t directly benefit from the project, residents said they are hopeful the project will alleviate traffic once it’s complete.
“I believe the biggest problem is when the interstate is reduced down to one lane due to the Washington Street exit, and that is being addressed as we speak,” West Baton Rouge Parish resident Caleb Kleinpeter said.
Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot expects the project to relieve traffic congestion upon completion, but the construction period will cause some pain and frustration in the parish he said.
The project is scheduled to begin in 2019 and will take between five and seven years to complete.
“Five to seven years of construction is going to be a long time,” Berthelot said.
Berthelot requested DOTD reroute trucks to the old bridge during busy hours throughout the construction process but said the request has gone unanswered.
At least three lanes of traffic will be left open during the various phases of construction, DOTD officials said.
Residents agreed the I-10 widening isn’t another bridge, but it is progress.
“When the bridge is moving the Intracoastal moves,” Kleinpeter said. “Being a resident of the south side I am glad to see things in motion, moving forward is better than standing still.”
The next several years may be a mess, but there is sweet traffic relief on the horizon, Berthelot said.