At first meeting, DOTD suggests more lanes on I-10
BATON ROUGE – Traffic officials suggested widening a stretch of I-10 starting at the Mississippi River bridge through the city as a way to alleviate traffic congestion.
The pitch came Monday night, during the first of three public meetings about solving the traffic situation. Two other meetings will be held this week, all in the evenings in various locations.
Dozens of people attended the first discussion at a ballroom in the Baton Rouge River Center.
"To ease congestion, we need to improve I-10 and look for other solutions for managing the traffic as well," said LaDOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas.
The plan presented adds another lane to the east and westbound traffic, including one eastbound off the bridge toward the Washington Street exit. The addition had support from many people in attendance, but many agree it's not enough.
"More than one lane is needed," said Frank Fasullo. "We probably need two or three lanes for future traffic problems, but it's one I think can be done quickly."
"I think they're in the right direction," said David Peters. "Obviously, they're in the very early stages but they've got some solutions that help."
Recent results from DOTD surveys show most people believe a loop or bypass is needed around Baton Rouge. Secondly, people suggested another bridge over the Mississippi and thirdly, more lanes on the interstate. Some suggested closing the Washington Street exit but DOTD said that will not happen.
Adding lanes between downtown and Old South Baton Rouge will cost about $350 million. The proposal has been in the works for about a year and most of the additional construction is covered inside state rights-of-way. Engineers also included sound barriers in an early rendering. DOTD believes it will have minimal impact on homes and businesses.
But, some attendees were worried it will increase rural blight and take away from developed areas of town.
"There's some really amazing local businesses and local culture at I-10 and under I-10 in some case," said Noelle Allison. "It would kind of be heartbreaking to lose any of that."
During the meetings, DOTD officials will seek public input and will analyze possible solutions for improving the corridor. Engineers are studying the area from La. 415 to the I-10/I-12 interchange. Input will be taken into consideration and the plan will be fine-tuned.
The two other meetings are on the following dates:
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Port Allen Community Center
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Crowne Plaza Hotel
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
For more information about the I-10 Corridor improvement Study, call 225-389-6518 or go to http://www.i10br.com/