Business owners meet with state, city officials to discuss challenges posed by I-10 construction
BATON ROUGE - Work has started on the I-10 widening project, causing concerns from business owners with how this may affect their operations.
Friday, the Influential Baton Rouge Business Women's Network held a panel with state and city leaders to ask questions and prepare for the changes that the projects will bring.
“We are the ones running the road, so we are running our businesses and then we’re running carpool. We’re taking our kids to sports and piano practice and dance practice, so this we feel affects us very greatly. We wanted to discuss progress for our city but also protecting our businesses,” Studyville CEO Amanda Vincent said.
DOTD secretary Eric Kalivoda, BRAC CEO Adam Knapp, and Congressman Garret Graves were in attendance, taking questions about the projects.
Fittingly, standstill traffic in Baton Rouge delayed Grave's arrival on Friday.
“In many cases our roads are just like parking lots at certain times of the day. This is a problem that’s been going on for decades and decades. Some of the folks today called it "carmageddon" and I think they’re right,” Graves said.
He told the crowd that Baton Rouge has the fourth worst traffic in the nation, something that DOTD hopes to fix with these projects.
“To think just for a minute that the traffic in Baton Rouge is worse than Chicago, worse than Denver, worse than Dallas, worse than Houston. This is unacceptable. I mean clearly our traffic is much worse than it should be. This has been going on for decades and decades, but it’s not going to get any better without aggressive, transformational changes,” Graves said.
With the increase of traffic congestion due to construction, business owners are concerned with how this may take a toll on their income.
“We got a year and a half to decide if we need to pivot our businesses, if we need satellite locations, if we need to start offering concierge services and all of that is being discussed. So this is helping us become better business owners in Baton Rouge,” Vincent said.
“We’ve got to use all of the tools available to get us through while we’re building some of the solutions that are on the book right now, because this is not going to be an overnight solution,” Graves said.
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