$60 million federal grant could help deal with I-10 nightmare
BATON ROUGE - A federal grant will help fund changes on I-10, Congressman Garret Graves announced in a news release Tuesday.
Sixty-million dollars will be used to facilitate closing the existing Washington Street exit in Baton Rouge and building a new, left exit for the Old South Baton Rouge community under the interstate south of downtown. The Washington Street exit is often debated as the reason that I-10 eastbound essentially becomes one lane off the river bridge as it merges with I-110. Graves' office said the money will be used to solve that situation, a reason traffic bottlenecks in the city.
“We made a commitment to get this bottleneck addressed and are excited that the resources are finally in place to fix this problem. This is a key step to solving some of the worse traffic in the nation,” Graves said. “For too long, the people of South Louisiana have had to settle for talk. Today, we are getting action.”
About an hour after Graves announced the money, the state said the funds would be spent to upgrade the surface of I-10 west of Baton Rouge near Lafayette. Resources once devoted to that project can now be focused on Washington Street and projects in the New Orleans area, too.
"By freeing up state funds for this project, we will be in a position to redirect resources to other critical infrastructure needs across Louisiana," Governor John Bel Edwards said. "This was a collaborative effort between state, federal and local stakeholders that will have significant impact on our state.”
“We are pleased to receive this innovative grant award and are prepared to deliver for the people of Louisiana,” LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said. “As we consider ways to invest in transportation infrastructure for Louisiana, this grant is a great first step to beginning that process.”
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