This morning was the official groundbreaking for the project to widen the 4.1-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from four to six lanes from the I-10/I-12 split to 1,500 feet east of the Siegen Lane overpass. Construction began Jan. 5 and is slated for completion in fall 2011. The cost of the project is $86.2 million — $30 million from the state budget surplus (appropriated in 2007); $50.6 million from federal transportation funds and $5.6 million from programmed state funding.
Four lanes of traffic — two in either direction — will be kept open during peak travel times. Closures of those lanes will only take place at night or on weekends during non-peak travel times and with DOTD approval. DOTD Secretary William Ankner says patience will be required of motorists during the construction period but that the payoff will be huge in the form of greater mobility and less congestion. Ankner says the project will increase the economic viability of Baton Rouge and the region. “We will get through this,” he says. “This is a good day for transportation.”
By Friday the public will be able to access complete details and traffic management information related to the widening project by clicking on Programs and Projects at the DOTD website: dotd.state.la.us.—Steve Clark