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DOTD says alternate routes may not be necessary during I-10 expansion process

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BATON ROUGE - DOTD crews continue to work on preparations for planned I-10 expansions in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes, attempting to avoid disrupting traffic as much as possible.

Concrete jersey barriers provide a wall of protection between drivers and road crews. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the most inconvenient part is putting them up.

"After that, you will get back to your two lanes that will be shifted a bit to the east and the west," Wilson said, "and you should be able to travel pretty safely, and that should not create any extreme delays."

Local and state officials say there won't be much reason to take an alternative route. For the portion of the widening between the two parishes, the DOTD has pushed the lanes to the shoulders and will be adding extra lanes in the middle, allowing them to keep both of those lanes open with traffic moving smoothly.

As for the other widening project through the heart of Baton Rouge, two lanes on each side will also have to stay open.

"The only real concern for congestion is in a spot like this if you have a bad accident," Wilson says. "You don't have much of a shoulder on one side and have a concrete barrier on the other. That might cause people to find an alternative route."

The best example of that happened near Lafayette last year. An accident in a similar construction zone backed up traffic to Baton Rouge. The scene took hours to clear.

Construction for the I-10 expansion is expected to last for years. Officials are asking drivers to be extra vigilant during the process.

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