DOTD says parts of I-10 will have lane reductions for a year for widening project

DOTD says parts of I-10 will close to 1 lane for a year
DOTD says parts of I-10 will close to 1 lane for a year(wafb)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2022 at 10:45 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Can you imagine parts of I-10 shut down for a full year?

It was learned on Wednesday, Aug. 24, that’s the plan for a huge upcoming construction project.

The slow, bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic on I-10 is anything but pleasant. Relief from that could be coming but will likely mean things will get a lot worse before they get better. Next year, the state will start a widening project in both directions from Acadian Thruway to the I-10/I-110 split near Government Street.

“It’s gonna be a nightmare,” said Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Shreveport. “I mean it’s horrible.”

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) said it is nearing the end of its planning phase.

“It’s just like the prework when you’re building a house,” said Rodney Mallet with DOTD. “You have to do all the underground pipes and all of that kind of pre-building type of stuff. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Lane closures in each direction will begin in early-mid 2024 and this will occur only at the westbound flyover ramp at the I-10/I-110 interchange. Other sections of the corridor such as Acadian to Government will be two or three lanes.

The change could last a full year and that is raising concerns from the committee.

“I am very concerned when we’re talking about having one lane east and one lane west,” said Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington. “That is very concerning to me.”

“It’s gonna be hard times for about a year or so, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re gonna benefit for generations. But the questions that we’re getting today are all good questions,” explained Mallet.

But perhaps the biggest concern was now that we’re in hurricane season, what the traffic nightmare could look like if a hurricane moves through the area and folks need to evacuate quickly.

“So many people’s lives are going to be impacted and the hurricane evacuation route is critical,” said Pennie Landry, a meeting attendee.

“You know, there are plenty of routes to go north, which with the unpredictability of the hurricanes we see these days, it’s probably best to go north anyway,” responded Mallet.

“From a practical standpoint, people leave New Orleans and head through Baton Rouge just about every time there’s a storm. So, we have to look at this from a practical standpoint as well,” responded McMath.

The next meeting at the Louisiana State Capitol about this will likely focus on how this construction might impact hurricane evacuations.

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