$1 billion toll loop proposed for East Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE- State traffic officials received a 28-page plan from an engineering firm that outlines its plan to build a loop through the city.
Conversations about a proposal started last year, during the legislative session. Then, lawmakers talked about using existing roads and few new construction projects to build a toll route and hopefully alleviate nightmarish traffic.
Thursday, AECOM, an engineering firm with offices in Baton Rouge and numerous other cities around the world, proposed a route from West Baton Rouge near the current I-10/La 415 interchange to I-10 near Pecue Lane in East Baton Rouge. A majority of the plan expands Highway 190 and Airline Highway for the toll road and adds frontage roads for local traffic.
The proposal would create two separate roads on Airline Highway.
"One is the existing road that's there, where motorist are able to travel on a free road with traffic lights, just as they do today, but the good thing is there's a new road and that would be a 70 mile an hour free flow road, that if people wanted to, they could pay a toll to use it," said Robert Schmidt with AECOM.
The tolls are estimated to cost around 20 cents a mile, but an exact rate hasn't been nailed down.
To get across the fast lanes, drivers would use overpasses and underpasses, some which are already in place.
"The service roads on each side would connect to the driveways and the cross streets and provide access as it exists today, the free flow road would be built in the middle where you could travel 70 miles per hour," said Schmidt.
The company would likely front the initial cost of the project, about $800 million dollars, and then recoup the cost through the tolls, after that the state would get the profit from tolls.
The toll would be charged electronically using a reader system and could be in place by 2022.