U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters visited the New Orleans area Sept. 28 to learn firsthand how the city is moving beyond recovery and taking action to ensure that the transportation network supports the community’s renewal and future prosperity.
As the nation’s top transportation official, Secretary Peters said it is important for her to see for herself the progress being made in New Orleans to restore and rebuild the area’s highways and bridges. In addition, she said she wanted to better understand how the recent population shifts are changing the area’s transportation patterns and needs.
“In many ways, the future of New Orleans is tied directly to making the right kind of improvements to its transportation system,” Peters stated.
Peters spoke after touring the I-10 widening project in Metairie designed to eliminate a severe bottleneck by adding additional lanes in each direction and reconstructing several interchanges. She noted this improvement to the most heavily traveled roadway in the State of Louisiana, and the ongoing I-10 Twin Spans bridge expansion project, are examples of how the area is rebuilding to reduce today’s congestion and planning ahead to handle future traffic growth.
Earlier in the day, Peters met with the St. Tammany Parish Chamber of Commerce to hear firsthand how the changing transportation patterns are affecting area businesses and residents in the North Shore communities. She also discussed the significant traffic back-ups that occur during the morning and evening commutes at several intersections which have seen marked increases in traffic volumes during the past two years, and talked about steps the Department is taking to reduce traffic congestion.
To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has obligated $2.32 billion of the $2.35 billion authorized for transportation recovery and rebuilding projects in Louisiana and Mississippi.