BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Baton Rouge is in the middle of a flurry of construction projects that are aiming to help with the traffic headache. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) gave an update on when drivers should expect to see some slowdowns from construction.
Work on the College Drive flyover has already begun. The hope is to reduce the number of cars switching lanes at the I-10/I-12 split.
“It also reduces conflict points for vehicles that are trying to cross over multiple lanes to exit on College. Essentially, right now I-12 is on the right side and I-10 is on the inside. We’re switching those,” DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said.
Once the College Drive flyover is up and running by the end of this year, the next stage of clearing up the traffic jams on I-10 begins.
“In 2023 we will start stage one of construction which is going to begin the three-lane construction in each direction with temporary widenings,” Wilson said.
That widening of the interstate will stretch from the I-110 split to the Acadian Thruway. It will also make the eastbound Washington Street exit only available to those coming off the Mississippi River Bridge. The state already owns most of the land they need to add a new lane and are going to begin utility relocation in the next month. The businesses under the interstate will have some impact from the project.
“We will have some disruption that will occur because we’re going to be constructing over their businesses and we may have some limited opportunities that we will work with them to compensate them for that loss,” Wilson said.
He believes the parking situation under the overpass will improve and even free up more space with the design. Another major project he is in support of is the new Mississippi River Bridge that the governor is working to secure funds for.
“There is no physical tie-in. The tie-in is that we absolutely need this project and the new Mississippi River Bridge based on the most conservative traffic projections that we have,” Wilson said.
He estimates the new bridge is in the near future, just years away. He said he supports the governor making the move to put $500 million away for the project now so there is a dedicated fund just for the project.