Gov. John Bel Edwards recently signed Louisiana House Bill 578 into law, which would appropriate $700 million from the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill settlement to transportation projects across the state.
“Signing this bill into law is another major accomplishment for the state’s infrastructure, and I applaud the legislature for targeting long-awaited projects that we know will help improve travel for motorists and provide economic benefits to the state,” Gov. Edwards said in a release. “Despite overwhelming needs, we are finding innovative ways to fund important projects across Louisiana, which is necessary for the growth of our communities and state."
Projects to receive funding under the new law include I-49 North Inter-City Connector in Caddo Parish; Sugarhouse Road Extension in Rapides Parish; Hooper Road Widening in East Baton Rouge Parish; LA-3241 extension from I-12 to Bush in St. Tammany Parish; I-49 South through Acadiana; and LA-1 at Leeville improvements in Lafourche Parish.
Additionally, this bill will allocate $125 million to construct a 2.7-mile connector from the LA-415/ Lobdell Hwy I-10 exit to LA-1 in West Baton Rouge Parish. This project will consist of the construction of a new four-lane roadway between LA-1 near LA-988 (Beaulieu Lane) and I-10 at the LA-415 interchange, in addition to a bridge over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Elevated structures will be required for much of the project, including flyover ramps from northbound LA-1 to southbound LA-1.
“The signing of HB 578 is a win for infrastructure,” said Louisiana DOTD (LaDOTD) Secretary Shawn Wilson, in a release. “The transportation needs are crucial throughout the state and impacts our economy and quality of life. In West Baton Rouge where I-10 is used as a major connector for local residents and motorists traveling across the country ... this connector will greatly improve connectivity and will assist in alleviating some of the traffic congestion experienced on a daily basis.”
This new connector will assist in improving connectivity on I-10 in West Baton Rouge, as well as provide a relief route for local traffic during peak hours, divert traffic from accidents along LA-1, and provide a direct connection for commercial vehicles to intermodal transportation facilities located at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. It will also serve as an additional evacuation route for areas south of I-10.
LaDOTD anticipates having a consultant under contract for the design of the connector by fall 2019. Construction is estimated to begin fall 2022.
SOURCE: Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards