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DOTD hosts first I-10 widening meeting

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BATON ROUGE - Dozens of drivers and residents filled the cafeteria at McKinley Middle Magnet School Tuesday evening to view the details of the I-10 widening project.

"This will allow another 90,000 plus people to have much more ability to move through Baton Rouge," said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson.

>>CLICK HERE FOR DOTD PROJECT RENDERINGS AND EXPLANATION.

The project would widen I-10 from six to eight lanes in between Hwy 415 in West Baton Rouge Parish to Essen Lane in East Baton Rouge Parish, not including the Mississippi River bridge. Work could begin in 2019 and be completed in phases in five to seven years.

Less than two dozen houses and businesses could lose some property to the project. A handful of structures may need to be torn down.

"It will ease traffic but the most important thing is who is going to be impacted, how long have those individuals been living in those houses and how will they be compensated for that property," said State Rep. Pat Smith (D-Baton Rouge).

Representatives for the Merchant Overpass restaurant on Perkins Road said the business plans to remain open, but the construction could limit its outside seating and foot traffic.

New sound walls would be constructed and existing ones would move closer to neighborhoods. DOTD plans to bring the interstate closer together as much as possible to limit the expansion of the interstate's overall footprint.

Major overhauls to interchanges would also bring roads closer to existing structures.

Two more public meetings on the project are scheduled for this week:

Wednesday, August 29
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Addis Community Center
7520 Highway 1 South

Thursday, August 30
5:50 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Baton Rouge Marriott
5500 Hilton Ave.

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