BATON ROUGE – Following through with a commitment to bring federal dollars back to Louisiana to reinvest in infrastructure, today Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) will formally submit the official request for $100 million in FASTLANE grant funding.
If approved, the funding would allow the state to complete a nearly 15-mile pavement replacement and lane addition project between the I-10/I-49 interchange and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. FASTLANE grants are provided by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) from their new discretionary grant program called the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program.
“Since taking office, I have met twice with the President, twice with the Vice President, and twice with the Secretary of the DOT,” said Gov. Edwards. “We’re committed to reengaging our federal partners to bring our tax dollars back to Louisiana to make the critical investments we need in our infrastructure. If we’re awarded these grants, we will have the ability to free up additional state dollars to invest in other projects around the state. I am confident that Secretary Wilson has put together a strong package for Louisiana, and I hope the federal government will work with us to help fund these important projects.”
This project will improve a portion of the interstate system that carried 120 million tons of freight worth $204 billion in 2015. The entire I-10 corridor is experiencing tremendous growth, but this is the most competitive section given the federal grant requirements.
Traffic counts from 2016 indicate that more than 33 percent of all vehicles traveling on this portion of I-10 are freight related. Future freight flows are expected to grow by 55 percent, and the value of the freight will grow to an estimated $435.3 million.
The entire project is estimated to cost more than $300 million.
If funded, the state is committed to dedicating available state funds to advancing other multimodal projects on the I-10 corridor. Those projects include construction of a new Washington Street off ramp in Baton Rouge, advancing the design of a reconstructed interchange at Loyola Avenue for the New Orleans Airport, improving railroad crossings on the freight-rail corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and advancing efforts to complete the I-20/220 interchange into Barksdale.
“Travel conditions on this corridor demand action, as it represents half of the worst conditions on all of Interstate 10 in Louisiana,” says DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. “Much of the road along the project area was last paved in the 1960s, resulting in poor pavement conditions today. We will work aggressively with our federal partners to bring funds back into Louisiana so our infrastructure can support our growing economy.”
Pavement replacement will improve safety and extend the life of the highway for all travelers. Lane expansions will provide additional capacity to accommodate growing freight and passenger volumes through this corridor.