BATON ROUGE, LA — Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Sherri H. LeBas, P.E., along with state and local officials, celebrated the opening of six lanes of traffic on I-10 between the I-10/I-12 split and Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge. The $86.2 million construction initiative widened I-10 from four to six travel lanes, and included work on bridges and overpasses at Essen Lane and Bluebonnet Boulevard.
“This is an exciting time for Baton Rouge as we celebrate another important milestone in DOTD’s Geaux Wider Program,” said Secretary LeBas. “The much-anticipated opening of I-10 between the split and Siegen will greatly improve travel for the 73,000 motorists using this stretch daily.”
The $315 million Geaux Wider program is a multi-year construction initiative designed to increase capacity, improve safety and enhance mobility on I-10 and I-12 in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.
In addition to the completion of this segment, drivers can look forward to the opening of six lanes of I-10 from Siegen Lane to Highland Road in spring 2013. Also, in 2013, plans for I-10 continue as DOTD begins design work for three projects that will expand the widening even further from Highland Road to La. 22 in Ascension Parish.
I-10 is a major route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, serving a growing area of commercial development, industrial operations and residential communities. Since Governor Jindal took office in 2008, the state has invested more than $470 million in I-10 across Louisiana, which has led to improved travel, enhanced safety and increased economic opportunity.
“Improving I-10 is a significant step forward for Baton Rouge and for the State of Louisiana,” said Representative Steve Carter. “I-10 is an important corridor, and I am pleased that this project will create better access for the residents, travelers and businesses who use this route.”
“I appreciate Governor Jindal’s support to improve our critical interstate corridors,” said Representative Franklin Foil. “Not only is the widening of I-10 a direct benefit for the residents of our community, but it will also expand both local and regional access to strengthen economic development across the state.”
“I look forward to seeing congestion relief for our residents and commuters, and the improved travel times it will bring to our morning and afternoon commutes,” said Senator Dan Claitor.
“I-10 is a key interstate corridor connecting Louisiana to the rest of the nation,” said Representative Erich Ponti. “Widening this area will provide tremendous help to our businesses and industries that depend on it for their livelihood.”
“It is through strategic state and local partnerships that we can continue to build a better Baton Rouge,” said East Baton Rouge Parish President/Mayor Kip Holden. “The widening of I-10, coupled with the city’s current widening of Staring Lane, will tremendously improve travel for residents and commuters in this area.”
Retail centers like the Mall of Louisiana, which sees over 15 million visitors annually, will greatly benefit from the improved access.
“We look forward to the conveniences the widening will bring to our 1.5 million square-foot complex and the ease with which our customers will be able to access our over 175 specialty stores, food court and restaurants,” said Todd Denton, General Manager, Mall of Louisiana.
In addition, I-10 provides a vital route for numerous hospitals, physicians’ offices and medical facilities such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, which is the largest private medical center in Louisiana, treating more than 35,000 in-hospital patients and serving more than 350,000 persons through outpatient locations annually.
Also, nestled between I-10 and Essen Lane, is the four-hundred-and-forty-acre Botanic Gardens and Rural Life Museum at Burden. Approximately 100,000 people visit Burden and Rural Life each year, and the numbers are growing based on visibility and improved access of the new lanes on I-10.
“We extremely thankful for this project,” said Jeff S. Kuehny, Director and Professor of the LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens at Burden. “The improved access to and from the interstate is very important to the accessibility of our facilities.”
Work continues to widen the following interstate segments under the Geaux Wider Program:
•Interstate 10, from the Siegen Lane interchange to Highland Road (to be completed in spring 2013).
•Interstate 12, from Juban Road to the Walker/LA 447 interchange (to be completed in mid-2013).
In addition to today’s completion of the I-10 widening project between the I-10/12 split and Siegen Lane, work concluded last summer to widen I-12 to six travel lanes between O’Neal Lane and Juban Road. DOTD plans to accept bids on a project that would extend the six lane improvements on I-12 from Juban Road east toward Satsuma.
While all six lanes of I-10 between the I-10/I-12 split and Siegen Lane are now open to traffic, drivers may still encounter periodic nighttime lane closures in the coming weeks as final construction activities conclude. While work continues on the I-10 and I-12 corridors, drivers are urged to remain alert, obey speed limits and other posted signs, and exercise caution in the construction zones.
For more information, contact Louisiana DOTD Customer Service at 1-877-4LADOTD (3683) or visit www.GeauxWider.com.
Drivers can also access up-to-date travel information throughout Louisiana by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).
DOTD is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 930 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.