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DOTD holds open house to answer questions about I-10 widening plans; many residents still undecided on project

1 year 2 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, March 07 2023 Mar 7, 2023 March 07, 2023 10:25 PM March 07, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- The ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Baton Rouge was packed with people Tuesday evening, many of them still concerned about what will happen when construction on the I-10 widening project starts.

Newly appointed DOTD Secretary Dr. Eric Kalivoda says it was a great way to answer those questions.

"It's an opportunity to clear up confusion and misinformation that is out there so people can understand what is going on," Kalivoda told WBRZ.

Posters showed different parts of the project and experts were at each display, hoping to give more information and ease concern from the public.

Some people at the event, like Scott Kirkpatrick, say they are glad it was held and support the proposed plan.

"No doubt, change can be tough, and no doubt when its the main thoroughfare through your own town, it's not easy to make those changes. But we got to do it. There is no real alternative," Kirkpatrick said. 

But others, like Pennie Landry, say they still aren't sold.

"Myself, and thousands of others in this community and surrounding communities are very concerned," Landry told WBRZ.

Landry said her main concern is how DOTD will keep traffic moving once lanes close.

Dr. Kalivoda says the best thing people can do now is start planning ways to get around without using the interstate. 

"I would urge people to think about alternative routes, maybe try them out a little before the crunch time comes when we get down to four lanes," Kalivoda said.

Still questions remain, but many are still torn, deciding if the project is worth the traffic that will come when construction starts. 

"This is really an impactful project. It's really going to change lives when we get on the back side of this. And it'll be really great for our city and our economy," Kirkpatrick said.

"This is a recipe for economic and quality of life disaster, not just for East Baton Rouge, but for the Capital Region," Landry told WBRZ.

Some Metro Council Members were at the open house. They were glad it happened, but want DOTD to stay true to their construction timeline. They also want to work with other entities in the city, like CATS, to find ways to keep traffic flowing when lanes close.

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