Essen Lane widening project nears completion

Essen Lane widening project nears completion

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With fewer traffic cones and only one remaining lane closure left, the work along Essen Lane is just about complete.

"We all know the problems with the interstate, so any of the other roads that can be a little clearer will be helpful," said Rebecca Labat, a driver.

The project is expected to be wrapped up by the end of July, and drivers say the end of all the construction there cannot come soon enough. "It takes time, but I am glad that it's progressing and that it's projected to be finished up that quickly," said Labat.

Started back in 2015, the goal is to widen portions of the roadway from five lanes to six with a center turning lane to make more room for the more than 55,000 drivers who travel the stretch each day.

"Hopefully it'll free up some of the traffic chaos that's usually at 5 o'clock," Labat added.

Once it's all said and done, some drivers believe it will pay off, leading to less congestion and not as much waiting during their drive.

"I know it will make a difference... not believe it, but I know it will because it'll help the turning traffic be able to turn without being in the flowing traffic," said Ivory Hayes, another driver.

Until then though, Hayes says he has already noticed a big difference. "Yeah, it's smooth and I'm talking about the black tar how they got it looks beautiful. I love that. When I really focused on it today, it made me see a different highway I'm riding on," said Hayes.

While things are still slow going on the northbound side of the roadway, the southbound side is smooth sailing and Hayes says he's even more excited for when the final lane open up.

"I'm looking forward to just having a straight shot without all the buildup in the traffic. That's what I'm looking forward to," said Hayes.

DOTD has not yet announced any delays, so the project should still be on track to be wrapped up by the end of July.

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