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Business owners worried over I-10 Widening Project, properties still need to be bought

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BATON ROUGE- The I-10 Widening Project is moving forward, but some properties and businesses still need to be acquired before the state can break ground.

Some business owners, like Ashley Quartararo, are concerned about the process. She started Fresh Salon as a business investment and an opportunity to work independently.

"This is my baby. It's supposed to be my forever," Quartararo said.

However, the state says her business needs to be leveled in order to make way for the interstate.

"This was my retirement plan so I have to change everything," Quartararo said.

One hurdle for the state has been securing property along the expanded route. Each property is within the construction area from LA 415 to the 10/12 split.

A number of homes face the possibility of demolition or could be moved. DOTD says plans are far from final.

"We haven't even designed final plans yet," said Rodney Mallett with DOTD. "What we're doing now is called advanced acquisitions, but nothing is going to be final until we get to the final plans."

The wait is keeping business owners, like Quartararo, in limbo as they try to figure out their next steps and learn what they'll be offered for the property.

"Will I break even? Will I make a few bucks? I don't know," Quartararo said. "I can't really make a plan until I know something."

Right now, DOTD and BREC want the public's feedback. A poll has been posted with ideas for the Greenway Corridor and park improvements along and under I-10. It will close on Sunday.

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