Rep. Garret Graves meets with Highway 30 coalition to help kickstart bridge connections

Staff Report
The Highway 30 Coalition launched April 12.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves joined the Highway 30 Coalition in Ascension Parish to discuss collaboration among elected, community, and business leaders to prioritize improvements in the fastest-growing parish of the state.

In recent days three locations have been identified for a proposed new Mississippi River bridge – all of which connect Hwy. 30 to Hwy. 1. Both highways suffered from terrible traffic congestion well before a proposed bridge that would bring even more vehicles.

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves

“It doesn’t matter where a bridge is built. It must connect LA 30 to LA 1. And we can’t build a bridge just to move one traffic jam on top of another across the river. These two highways – traveled by tens of thousands of motorists, trucks, and first responders every day – must be ready to meet the demand… yesterday. We have urged State leaders for years to embrace a no-regrets strategy of substantially increasing capacity to meet existing demand – and future demand. Again, it doesn’t matter where a bridge goes, it is going to touch these highways, and there are no regrets to making investments now to meet present and future demand,” Graves said.

Highway 30 and LA 1 expansions would allow a “new” Mississippi River Bridge project to be integrated into existing infrastructure as quickly as possible. Thousands of motorists already use the Highway 30 corridor daily, and the consistent growth in the region – between business development and new residents – means our transportation and infrastructure systems have to be ready for additional capacity.

“Highway 30 has become a parking lot and we can do better than this. It’s good to see stakeholders, such as the newly formed ‘Highway 30 Coalition,’ are bringing more attention to the LA 30 expansion. Improving this corridor will enhance our economic development, access to health care, education opportunities, response time for law enforcement, an evacuation route for hurricanes, and ultimately the safety of our communities – we have to get it right. We also have to put funding toward ‘no regret’ projects and strategies, get money out of the bank, and turn dirt. Thanks to the Highway 30 Coalition for having me. I am looking forward to working together on delivering solutions,” Graves continued.

For years, Graves has spoken about necessary short-, mid-and long-term improvements in the Capital Region. Examples:

  • Short-term: Terrace St. Exit, Pecue Lane, Syncing Traffic Lights, etc.
  • Mid-term: Additional Interstate lanes, LA 30 and LA 1 improvements,  improving Walker-Gonzales connection, etc.
  • Long-term: Major projects like a “new” Mississippi River bridge and revival of the Baton Rouge Urban Mobility Plan.