Baton Rouge, La. — Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., announced plans to move forward with the widening of seven miles of Interstate 10 between Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish and LA 73 in Ascension Parish by pursuing a design-build contract.
“The widening of I-10 in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes is a priority for the state,” Secretary Wilson said. “With the full support of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Governor Edwards, we’re able to utilize the innovative design-build method to move us one step closer to reducing congestion and enhancing safety along this heavily traveled freight corridor.”
DOTD issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) seeking a design-build firm to widen this section of I-10. The NOI can be viewed on DOTD’s website at http://wwwsp.dotd.la.gov/Inside_LaDOTD/Divisions/Engineering/Design_Build/Pages/default.aspx. The proposed project includes widening I-10 a quarter mile west of the I-10/Highland Road interchange to east of the I-10/ LA 73 interchange from two lanes in each direction to three. The design-build contract is estimated upward of $60 million and will be funded with federal funds.
Funding for this project became available because DOTD was able to repurpose over $40 million in earmark funds, freeing up dollars for the I-10 project. Though not directly related to the $60 million FASTLANE grant received by DOTD for I-10 improvements east of Lafayette, together the two projects highlight the Edwards administration’s commitment to the vital I-10 freight corridor.
“While actions by DOTD under this administration demonstrate what can be accomplished through innovation and by working with our federal partners, Louisiana’s major transportation needs cannot be addressed without an additional long-term investment from the state,” Secretary Wilson added.
In June 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the formation of the Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment. The Task Force is working to find investment solutions to address transportation needs in Louisiana and will ultimately issue a recommendation to the Governor for legislative action in 2017. Regional task force meetings have been held in New Orleans, Shreveport, Lake Charles and Houma and will continue around the state through October.