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Inflation means more roadblocks for Pecue Lane expansion project

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BATON ROUGE - The Pecue Lane project is about two-thirds of the way complete, but DOTD is hitting some roadblocks at the start of phase three.

“The newest about Pecue Lane is that we’re making great progress but we’re running into issues that we’re seeing on several projects across the state," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of LaDOTD.

The issue is inflation, driving the price of materials to sky-high levels. The price tag for phase three, which includes widening Pecue from Perkins Road to Airline Highway, came back at a whopping $14 million higher than what DOTD estimated.

“We expected an increase. We hoped to be within the range of that new estimate but we’re 14 million dollars over. So we’re in the process of reviewing that bid."

With limited time and money, DOTD faces a tough decision: push the final phase of the project back until the next fiscal year, or find the money and accept the bid. They have 45 days from the opening bid date of November 9 to make that decision.

“These projects won’t disappear if they don’t get let, they just won’t be let when we think they will or when we’ve previously committed."

Wilson says the problem with delaying the project is that prices could continue to go up.

“Pushing a project forward does not guarantee that you get a lower price," Wilson said. “So, we really don’t have much of a choice other than delay the project, let the project and then face higher consequences when that comes.”

Pecue Lane isn't the only project that could be potentially delayed because of inflation, either. Wilson says, it's a problem statewide.

“Nelson Road in Lake Charles. The project was 40+ million dollars. We upped our estimate to 62, 63 million dollars. The low bid came back at 101 million dollars."


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