WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — Improving your commute all while avoiding lane closures, the nearly 60 million dollar project will replace infrastructure with a new bridge that meets today’s standards. 

The new project will create a lasting infrastructure that will benefit motorists and businesses in the community by replacing the current southbound bridge.

“You know, when you do these projects you actually change the face of the place,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson. “With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide consistent federal funding for five years that we have received, we’re able now to correct the structural and functional deficiencies on this bridge that have outlived its original lifespan.” 

The two-phase project will result in two new bridges, West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley “Pee Wee” Berthelot said it’s a timely upgrade for the growing city. 

“We are one of the smallest parishes in the state but yet we have over 50,000 vehicles traveling up and down this road, crossing this bridge every day,” said Berthelot.

By the end of construction, commuters will have three lanes and two ten-foot shoulders, making the bridges twice as wide as the current one and saving money. 

“We spend a disproportionate amount of money trying to maintain old aged load posted bridges in better shape. We can also take advantage of new materials whether it’s steel structure versus concrete and technologies in terms of how we build it,” said Wilson.

The LA 1 Intracoastal Bridge will be constructed on the west side of the existing structure, in addition to realigning Ernest Wilson Drive and LA 1 to connect with the new bridge. Until the new southbound bridge is completed, vehicles will remain on the current route, and when the project is completed, both south and northbound traffic will be shifted to the new bridge.

Weather permitting, phase one of the two-phase project should be completed by the summer of 2023.