Road work got under way in mid-November on one large Interstate 10 widening project in western Louisiana, while adjacent to New Orleans, another hefty interchange project is progressing, according to updates from the state's Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD).
I-10 Widening in Calcasieu Parish
On Nov. 17, Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson and other state and local officials, marked the beginning of a major I-10 widening effort in Calcasieu Parish.
The agency said it will widen 10.5 mi. of I-10 to six lanes from the Texas state line to east of LA Highway 108. In addition, crews will replace and widen a total of 10 bridges and replace the eastbound weigh-in-motion system.
Construction will be condensed to three segments to minimize the impact to the traveling public, and work will begin on Segment 1 from the state line to LA 109.
"Widening this stretch of I-10 will alleviate congestion and improve safety for residents and businesses," said Edwards. "Investing in Louisiana's infrastructure has always been an important aspect of my administration, and the start of this project is another example of moving Louisiana forward."
The Calcasieu Parish project, estimated at $152 million, is expected to increase I-10's traffic capacity and enhance travel for the transportation industry. The DOTD said that section of I-10 is part of the National Highway Freight Network, and more than 1.6 million tons of freight are carried along the corridor each year.
"On behalf of the residents and businesses of District 47, I am thankful to the governor, our federal delegation, Secretary Wilson and DOTD to see these improvements being made to our area's transportation system," said state Rep. Ryan Bourriaque.
"This area was impacted by storm events from August 2016 through today which reinforced the necessity to have reliable infrastructure options for this region."
The construction contract, awarded to Johnson Brothers Corp., based in Texas, is anticipated to be complete in 2025, with progress dependent on weather conditions, according to the state.
I-10/Loyola Drive Interchange in Jefferson Parish
In Kenner, the DOTD on Nov. 17 gave a status report on the $125 million Loyola Drive at I-10 interchange project.
The state transportation agency said that currently, the contractor, Gilchrist Construction LLC in Alexandria, is building the ramp embankments and piers that will support the flyovers at the interchange.
"As drivers start to see signs of upgrades and improvements on I-10 near the New Orleans Airport, we continue to ask for their patience and awareness," said Wilson. "This project is essential for safe and efficient travel in southeast Louisiana, and safety has to be a priority while we build it. I am excited to see the signs of progress made thus far and look forward to the completion of the major upgrade."
The temporary at-grade ramp connecting northbound Loyola Drive to I-10 eastbound is expected to be open to motorists in March 2021.
The major interchange upgrade consists of constructing two additional elevated flyover ramps connecting I-10 and New Orleans to Louis Armstrong International Airport. Additionally, the improvements to the current interchange at Loyola and I-10 includes a diverging diamond interchange, which is expected to be open in late 2021.
DOTD said the flyover ramps are expected to be finished by late summer 2022. The project is on schedule to be completed within the contract, which ends in November 2022.