Long, long list of projects could mean a new bridge in 30 years
BATON ROUGE – A 30 year transportation dream still includes a new bridge across the Mississippi River in the capital area, but it's on a long list that is second to another long list of other projects DOTD released to lawmakers Thursday.
"This plan provides the vision for our multi-modal transportation infrastructure system," DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas said of the outline submitted to the Louisiana Transportation Policy Committee. The committee serves as a decision-making body of lawmakers and governmental leaders. The group decides on a Statewide Transportation Plan – a priority list of transportation-related, economic development projects.
A new bridge is considered a mega project but is part of "Priority B." It follows "Priority A" projects, which include widening I-10 between I-110 and I-12 to eight lanes. It also asks for widening projects on I-10 in Ascension Parish. The first group would cost about $4.8 billion and would need both state and local government funding.
Similar funding methods would be needed for the second, $5.8 billion wish list. The "Priority B" list includes the $800 million bridge over the river somewhere in Baton Rouge. Also, the list calls for interstate widening projects in Ascension and Hammond. Engineers would also like to build a North Bypass in Baton Rouge, connecting I-10 to I-12 at a cost of $1 billion. The bypass project could include a bridge or the bridge could be a standalone project. A La 1 Connector is also on the list.
Buried even deeper are more traffic projects in the Baton Rouge area, including the "BUMP" - a public/private partnership to create a toll road on Airline Highway.
The statewide plan was first developed in 2003 and updated in 2008. Some projects have become reality.
"Many of the Priority A projects from the 2008 plan have been completed or begun, such as Interstate 49 North, widening Interstates 10 and 12 and the work on I-49 South," LeBas said.
DOTD said the list is not a flash in the pan, but can be accomplished with the right amount of backing and funding and cited I-10 and I-12 widening projects in East Baton Rouge, Livingston and St. Tammany as well as finished parts of I-49 connecting Shreveport to Lafayette.
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