No more "S-curve" for eastbound I-12 motorists - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

No more "S-curve" for eastbound I-12 motorists

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(WAFB) -

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced Monday that I-12 eastbound traffic will be shifted to the new eastbound Amite River Bridge Tuesday morning, April 24, weather permitting.

This movement will eliminate the "S-curve" for eastbound I-12 traffic, marking a major construction milestone for the DOTD Geaux Wider Program.

The "S-curve" took eastbound travelers across the median area and onto the lanes of the westbound Amite River Bridge. The new traffic pattern will keep travelers in the eastbound direction using a lane shift instead of the "S" curve. This will improve traffic flow from Baton Rouge to Livingston Parish, especially during the afternoon peak travel demand.

"This is a significant step forward in the completion of widening I-12 from O'Neal to Juban," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas, P.E. "Widening this vital corridor enhances safety, facilitates better movement of goods and services and provides congestion relief for the 85,000 motorists traveling this segment of interstate each day."

On the westbound side, the current lane shifts will be more subtle because construction crews will have more room to finish their work. The inside concrete barrier will be removed and free up space for roadway shoulders.

Additionally, DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas announced that motorists can look forward to the gradual opening of a third new eastbound travel lane in the coming months as crews work to complete the eastbound construction between O'Neal Lane and Denham Springs.

Anita Bumgarner, Bass Pro Shops retail manager, said, "The improvements to I-12 eastbound will be a great encouragement to consumers to cross from East Baton Rouge to Livingston Parish and take advantage of the great retail establishments in our parish."

Mitch Wasden, Ochsner Medical Center CEO, said "Our 140-bed hospital is directly impacted by I-12. The widening of the interstate will improve travel times to the hospital not only for patients in need of urgent care, but also for our nearly 1,200 employees."

The $146.2 million I-12 widening project from O'Neal Lane to Juban Road began in early 2009 and is expected to be complete this summer. The new Amite River Bridges are 63 feet wide compared to the old 34-foot wide structures and have a design life of 75 years.

Remaining I-12 widening projects include the $21.9 million Juban Road to Walker (La. 447) segment. Construction is underway and expected to be complete in mid 2013. Additionally, DOTD is moving forward with plans to widen I-12 from Walker east toward Satsuma, and could accept bids as early as spring 2013.

The Louisiana DOTD Geaux Wider Program is a multi-year construction initiative designed to increase capacity, improve safety and enhance mobility along a combined total of nearly 20 miles of Interstates 10 and 12 in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.

Work on the interstate widening portion of the Geaux Wider Program began in January 2009 with completion scheduled for 2013. The cost of the entire program to date, which includes five widening projects and the installation of ramp meters, is $315 million.

The following interstate segments are being widened to six lanes under the Geaux Wider program:

  • Interstate 10, from the I-10/12 split to Siegen Lane.
  • Interstate 10, from the Siegen Lane interchange to Highland Road.
  • Interstate 12, from the O'Neal Lane interchange to Pete's Highway.
  • Interstate 12 eastbound, from Pete's Highway to Juban Road.
  • Interstate 12, from Juban Road to the Walker/LA 447 interchange.

DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds motorists to remain alert, obey speed limits and other posted signs, and exercise caution in construction zones.

For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email dotdcs@la.gov, or call DOTD's Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).

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