BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Soon the Capital City could be seeing more lanes and less traffic.
Thursday, the Department of Transportation and Development announced the I-10 widening project received federal approval.
Phase 1 stretches from LA 415 in West Baton Rouge to the I-10 I-12 split in East Baton Rouge.
“It’s going to mean some certainty over the next several decades,” DOTD Secretary, Shawn Wilson said. “It’s going to mean economic prosperity for those that are engaged in the construction or the materials or supplying what’s needed for this project, and it’s going to mean progress.”
Brian Landry, manager of Hayride Scandal Bar, says the interstate is constantly backed up.
“You see a lot of traffic jams and a lot of wrecks, about every other day there’s something that happens,” Landry said.
Phase one will cost more than $716 million and could start as soon as 2023. Landry says the bar will attract more business if there’s less traffic.
“I think it’ll be a great opportunity to have more customers,” Landry said.
Zorbas Greek Bistro owner Dino Economides says traffic piles up in front of his restaurant. He says these changes couldn’t come faster.
“It will definitely help and make it more accessible for people to come,” Economides said.
DOTD officials say the area sees upward of 100,000 cars a day and their goal is to make the roads as safe and convenient as possible.
“This is going to be reflective of the value we place in our community and what we want it to be,” Wilson said.
A substantial part of the project will be funded using grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds, which are also known as garvee bonds, DOTD said in a statement. A minimum of $360 million of garvee proceeds will go toward the construction of this phase. Additional contributions include $12 million from the city of Baton Rouge-parish of East Baton Rouge Government and $24 million through the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC).
Improvements on this decades-old corridor have already begun with the opening of the Terrace St. off-ramp and projects currently in delivery include the KCS Bridge Replacement at Acadian and the design-build project for the College Drive Flyover, which is expected to begin before the summer, DOTD said in a statement.