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Commuters won't see work begin on I-10 expansion until 2020

9 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago Thursday, December 20 2018 Dec 20, 2018 December 20, 2018 6:49 PM December 20, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Drivers all too familiar with the capital area's daily traffic headache will be facing yet another delay, this time with the interstate expansion.

"Traffic is so congested. It really needs something done about it, because it's really just terrible," Baton Rouge resident Dennis Royal said. "It should be done sooner."

When the project was announced in January, the State said work would begin within a year. But now it looks like construction work won't be visible until 2020.

"We are finalizing our last comments to our environmental document that we're going to submit to the federal government in the first quarter of 2019," DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said.

That part of the project was supposed to wrap up by the end of this year. It included lane closures along I-10 for surveying work.

"Then we're going to start to do work, everything from procuring a construction manager and a contractor to work on the project. There's a lot of work to be done both to begin the engineering but also to be prepared for some of that construction," Wilson said.

One reason for the delay may be the state's issue with acquiring properties along the expansion line.

"A lot of surface street work, a lot of material and things are going to have to be done. Property's going to have to be acquired, utilities going to have to be relocated," Wilson said.

The Overpass Merchant, which is located under I-10 on Perkins Road sits directly in the path of the proposed expansion. The State has offered to relocate them, but the business refuses. Today the owners told us "we know as much as you do" as far as what will happen next.

DOTD officials told us they were waiting to hear from their real estate team to comment.

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