MANDEVILLE, La. (WVUE) - A ceremonial groundbreaking for the I-12 widening project in St. Tammany Parish was held Monday morning.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Congressman Steve Scalise were present at the ceremony.
Phase one, which began construction in early May, will widen I-12 from LA 59 to U.S. 190.
Once completed, phase one will widen 3.023 miles of pavement surface from U.S. 190 to LA 59 into the median, overlaying the existing lanes with asphalt, and installing concrete median protection. The project also includes widening the bridges over U.S. 190, the Ponchatolawa Creek and the Tammany Trace bike path.
Phase two, which will widen I-12 from U.S. 190 to LA 21, is expected to begin construction in the coming weeks.
“Louisiana has taken another step forward today,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This project is long overdue, but it shows what can be accomplished when we work together to improve infrastructure and the safety of our drivers. Investing in our highways, interstates and other infrastructure has been a top prioriy for my administration, and I am elated to move forward with this project in Southeast Louisiana.”
Most of the funding for phase one, $43.4 million, comes from federal redistribution funds, which is money left over from other federally sourced projects across the country. St. Tammany Parish provided $8 million and the remaining $2.8 million has been sourced through the state.
Funding for phase two is being sourced through a $25 million federal BUILD grant, obtained by St. Tammany Parish, as well as a $7.2 million commitment from the parish. The remaining funds are being paid by the state.
On average, more than 95,000 drivers use that stretch of I-12 daily, but estimates show that number could grow exponentially in the coming years.
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