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I-10 in Baton Rouge

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Plutonic Panda:
As many here know, I-10 is being upgraded in this city. I haven’t heard about a new Mississippi River Bridge but the other freeway segments are being widened to at least 3 lanes each way with other 4 lanes each way.

--- Quote --- BATON ROUGE, La. - Scope of I-10 Segment 1 is Expanding, Community Open House Events Project Update and Input Opportunities Baton Rouge - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has expanded Segment 1 of the I-10 Improvements Project in Baton Rouge to include the Acadian Thruway interchange.

Expanding the work area eastward to include Acadian will result in significant time and cost savings for the project. This expansion is estimated to save $50 million for the project and shave off four years from the overall timeline. Once completed, there will be four lanes in each direction from the I-10/I-110 split to Acadian.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023 with major lane restrictions [NO1] beginning in 2024. The expansion will include reducing I-10 to two travel lanes in each direction for an estimated total of one year during the planned four-year construction beginning in 2024. DOTD is working to mitigate the traffic issues resulting from the two-lane phasing by implementing traffic mitigation projects on surface streets, such as restriping and signal modifications and active signal management in the surrounding areas.
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Looks like WAFB simply cut and pasted the LADOTD official announcement:

This is basically Phase 1 of the widening of I-10 through Baton Rouge; it originally ran from the I-10/I-110 Split to the Perkins Road/CP-KCS overpass, but was extended to past the Acadian Thruway interchange to save time and money. Phase 2 takes on the area from Acadian to the I-10/I-12 Split to Essen Lane.

The new Mississippi River Bridge is a separate project not affiliated with I-10.

Plutonic Panda:
Thanks for the information. Do you know more about the Mississippi River bridge? That is sorely needed but surely will cost a pretty penny.

From what I can tell, the new Mississippi River Bridge is supposed to be located near Addis south of Port Allen, and serve as an arterial connector between LA 1 on the west side and LA 30 on the eastern side. It's also meant to accompany the proposed extension of LA 415 from the I-10 interchange south and east to LA 1, where it will meet the connection crossing the river.

From the Louisiana Illuminator:

--- Quote ---Baton Rouge traffic study shows locals create interstate congestion

Public sentiment about origin of traffic is misplaced, data shows

The results from a traffic pattern analysis released Monday for the Greater Baton Rouge Mississippi River Bridge South project surprised some experts and officials. Its findings indicate local drivers account for the vast majority of the 126,000 vehicles who cross the Interstate 10 bridge.

The Capital Area Road and Bridge District Commission met Monday to receive data from the first phase of a study for a new bridge to relieve the heavily congested span of interstate between Port Allen and the Interstate 12 junction.

Atlas Technical Consultants, the engineering firm conducting the study for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), has narrowed potential locations for a bypass bridge across the river to three sites, down from 32 proposals when the study began in July 2020. All three are in Iberville Parish just south of Plaquemine. 

Atlas Technical’s Kara Moree told commissioners the firm consulted with several other experts and used traffic signal data, cell phone location data and existing models to complete its analysis.

The study found an average of more than 63,000 vehicles cross the bridge in each direction every day. A relatively small percentage are motorists passing through, Moree said.

The large majority, 87% of the traffic between the Acadian Thruway exit and the I-10/I-12 split is local,  meaning the vehicles are not just passing through toward New Orleans or Lafayette. That pattern holds for the entire Greater Baton Rouge region, in which 80% of the motorists on the interstate are local drivers beginning or ending their trips in the five-parish area that encompasses all of East Baton Rouge and Ascension and parts of West Baton Rouge, Iberville and Livingston.

About 90% of the daily motorists on I-10 between the Ascension Parish line and Bluebonnet Boulevard are local drivers, along with 85% of those on I-12 between the split and the O’Neal Lane exit. Large trucks account for 15% of the traffic, according to the findings.

Moree admitted the data surprised her, given the general sentiment expressed during public meetings for the bridge project.

“What we saw from the public meetings, the general conception is usually that through-trips probably make up 50% or more,” Moree said. “I’m making that number up, but that’s what I would’ve thought [until] I first saw this data.”

Commissioner Hank Grace, the Bridge District commissioner from Iberville Parish, said he also expected drastically different numbers.

“The numbers are quite surprising on some of them,” Grace said. “I just had no idea.”

Another finding that stood out: approximately 62% of the eastbound I-10 bridge traffic comes from vehicles traveling on LA 1 and LA 415 and merging onto the I-10 bridge. Moree said a new bridge at one of the three sites in Iberville Parish will divert about half of the vehicles feeding the eastbound bridge congestion from LA 1 and accommodate approximately 24,000 vehicles daily with no major impacts to the City of Plaquemine.

Moree told the commission that Atlas has completed 99% of its work on the first phase of the study and planning while using only 71% of the money allocated for the work.

DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said he was pleased with the report and the efficiency of the work. The findings validate DOTD’s initial assessment that Baton Rouge motorists use the interstate for short local commutes rather than long-distance travel, he said.

Atlas anticipates it will finish its assessment and try to obtain federal approval for the bridge by summer 2024, Moree said.

The Louisiana Legislature set aside $300 million for the bridge to help meet the match requirements of federal infrastructure grants that the state will need to fund most of the project.

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