Church's future unclear as crews prepare for I-10 expansion in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - A team of surveyors is taking measurements for the I-10 widening project in Old South Baton Rouge.
They're leaving behind bright orange markers under the overpass, in the street, and on the sidewalk. One of those markers is right in front of the Fairview Missionary Baptist Church along with a stake, marking another spot.
"First time I saw them was last week," said Dr. Gus Spurlock, the pastor at Fairview. "I was disturbed because I didn't know they were widening the sidewalks or what the markings are actually for."
The church is right next to I-10, and the street in front of it is an on-ramp for the interstate.
"This church served as a cornerstone for many other things that have evolved around in this community," Spurlock said.
The church dates back to the 1930s, and the pastor has no idea how or if the I-10 project will affect Fairview.
"We move forward, nobody is going to be caught by surprise."
DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says it's way too early to say what property will be needed for the 1-10 project and there will plenty of time for public hearings.
"I will not be worried right now, I'd wait and see will when we have those discussions," Mallett said.
Rev. Spurlock says he understands that the community needs a wider interstate, he just wants to know as soon as possible if the project will impact his church.
The pastor is hoping that the state will reach out to the church before deciding if the highway project could come their way.
"We're not fighting against the expansion, we just want to be part of the equation. Then, when we are part of the equation, we know how to prepare ourselves," Spurlock said.