Governor John Bel Edwards, along with members of the Department of Transportation and Development and the Joint Transportation Committee, held a press conference earlier today to discuss the design build for the I-10 expansion that will run through Ascension and East Baton Rouge Parishes.
According to Edwards, the seven-mile stretch of interstate between Highland Road and La. 73 will be widened from four lanes to six lanes, alleviating some of the traffic congestion that many face daily.
"About 30 percent of the traffic on I-10 is actually engaged in moving cargo," Edwards said. "You might be moving a kid to soccer practice or trying to get to work or to a ballgame, this is going to be a benefit to you as well."
DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson added that the design build will explore the possibility of elevating certain portions of the interstate a foot to a foot and a half, as traffic was detoured through Prairiveille last month because of flooded parts of the interstate.
"One of the goals will be making sure that that same stretch of interstate that we had to be closed in August because of the flooding does not have to get closed going forward," Edwards said.
Wilson also touched on the subject of why this project was chosen before the widening of I-10 from the Mississippi Bridge to the split.
"This is one of the more congested areas that is ready to to be built," Wilson said. "We own all the right of way, we have already begun some of the preliminary planning and it is one of the most efficient projects that can comply with the federal requirements to let this project within the next fiscal year."
Funds to build the expansion will be used from the FAST ACT authority, which allows the state to repurpose federal earmarked funds. If the state does not used the funds, it will be given to other states to use on their roads.
The project will be under contract before this time next year.