Today marks one year since news broke of I-10 expansion in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE – Friday marks a year since a city-wide celebration of word the interstate was finally getting the expansion it arguably should have been born with.
WBRZ.com broke the news that I-10 would be widened between the Mississippi River and the I-10/I-12 split east of downtown. An additional lane is expected to be added in each direction, and engineers will tackle a deep thorn – the traffic snarl forced by the interstate coming to a single lane to accommodate the Washington Street exit. It’s said to be the only location along the interstate's 2,400 miles between Jacksonville, Florida, and Los Angeles, California, where traffic does not share two or more lanes.
The project will not, however, include a new bridge.
The state is funding the project by essentially taking loans on future federal highway money.
As WBRZ reported in late December, obvious work on the expansion is still a year away.
"We are finalizing our last comments to our environmental document that we're going to submit to the federal government in the first quarter of 2019," DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said.
"Then we're going to start to do work, everything from procuring a construction manager and a contractor to work on the project. There's a lot of work to be done both to begin the engineering but also to be prepared for some of that construction," Wilson said.
When designed, the area of I-10 between the river and the split was set to accommodate 80,000 vehicles per day. By 2011, the actual daily use had doubled and experts predict an additional 46,000 vehicles will use the highway system in the next 13 years – a total of 201,500 vehicles per day by 2032.
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