Mayor Broome urging patience with road construction

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome gives her 2022 State of the City address. (Staff photo)

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome today urged drivers to have patience with delays caused by road construction. 

Asked about the inevitable headaches associated with the Interstate 10 widening project, she says her office works closely with the state highway department and expects to have more information to share soon. A DOTD spokesperson has told Business Report that the state is working on a traffic mitigation plan and will roll it out in 2023, when the work is expected to start. 

Delivering her annual “state of the city” address to the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge today, she asked drivers not to complain about orange cones or closed lanes.

“That is progress in real time,” she says. 

According to Broome:

  • The city-parish had 21 transportation projects enter the construction phase in 2021 and expects to spend $100 million on MovEBR construction work this year. 
  • The parish also has $740 million in drainage work underway, including major projects such as the Comite River Diversion and work on the five major tributaries.
  • A comprehensive stormwater master plan will be completed later this year, and $25 million in federal American Rescue Plan money has been allocated to address projects the plan identifies.
  • The parish is allocating $8 million in American Rescue Plan dollars for the replacement of BRPD patrol units and other vehicles, $1.8 million to enhance the police department’s technology (including automated license plate readers and cameras in crime hot spots), $3.3 million to implement gun violence reduction strategies, and almost $400,000 for East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore’s office to address youth violence. 
  • Roughly $10 million more in ARP dollars will go toward maintaining and upgrading technology, equipment, and vehicles for firefighters and emergency medical services. 
  • EBR has brought on an experienced “quality of place specialist” to help address litter issues. 

Broome also touted recent economic development news including Amazon’s redevelopment of the old Cortana Mall site and expansions by ExxonMobil and Coca-Cola Bottling Company.