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Author Topic: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge  (Read 5088 times)

jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2022, 05:15:00 PM »

There are multiple goals at play. The main goal is to divert some traffic off of the I-10 crossing (the Wilkinson Bridge) and provide alternatives for situations that close the Wilkinson down altogether.

Some of the comments are that LA-30 and LA-1 could EVENTUALLY be converted to a higher capacity road.  If that is a workable solution, any of the crossings make some sense. If either or both is unworkable (with minor adjustments or reroutes,) it doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

LA 1 is currently a four-lane expressway from US 190 north of Port Allen to a few miles outside of Donaldsonville. LA 30 is only two lanes south of LSU and needs to be widened well south, probably all the way to its southern interchange with I-10. I would be shocked if DOTD has no plans for expanding LA 30. I'm not aware of any plans to make improvements to the LA 1 expressway (e.g. making it limited access) but I definitely will share my thoughts on that at the public meeting.

Surface roads might help the locals , but my guess it would primarily be a vehicle for expansion of Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes. East Baton Rouge Parish is all landed out except for swamp. The west bank here is prime for development... This bridge could benefit that tremendously. ... To push the sprawl toward the south is something that is probably going to happen. Has to happen if growth is to continue.

If Baton Rouge is going to sprawl, it might as well sprawl away from the I-10 corridor. The current situation makes Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes poor places for people to live if they work in Baton Rouge. A new bridge between I-10 and Donaldsonville makes those two parishes much more viable and attractive for commuter homesteads.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2022, 07:32:12 PM »

The fact that Gov JBE and the Legislature has placed a high priority on projects like the Lafayette Connector, I-10 in BTR, the ICC, and the new BTR bridge does give them additional boosts for ultimate funding for finishing the design and construction. With the infrastructure bill and the diversion of COVID relief funds, there is a stream of money they can use to get them at least started, if not finished.

If the governor, the legislature and our Congressional delegation can get their act together and work as a team, they could go to Washington and get funding specifically for the I-10 corridor projects (through BR, new bridge/BR bypass and the Calcasieu River bridge). A large portion, if not the majority, of the traffic on the trans-Louisiana corridor is coming from outside the state and/or going to points outside the state. The state shouldn't have to bear the entire burden of maintaining a vital national corridor. We're seeing with hurricane relief that getting our act together and presenting a unified front can reap dividends in Washington.

This is what this has to do with the upcoming elections (Congressional this year, statewide next). I'm no fan of Edwards but I would say he's done a decent job of representing Louisiana on the Congressional stage and with both a Republican president and a Democrat president. I want a governor who can go to the national stages, not act the fool and embarrass us, and do business with the rest of the country for Louisiana's benefit.
I have a question regarding a new Baton Rouge bridge. Is the point of a new bridge to provide locals another crossing, and is that for those in Baton Rouge or those south of the city? To increase capacity on I-10 and any additional freeway crossing?

I'm just looking to clarify the goal here. If the goal is to help those in BTR crossing the Mississippi, I don't see where a new bridge south of I-10 is going to help; something like connecting Gulf States Utilities Road to just north of Port Allen would make more sense. (This wouldn't be easy, but it's the only location I can see it even being possible.) A wider 8-10 lane I-10 bridge would be a better option if the idea is to increase the freeway capacity; a new five lane bridge could be built just north of the current bridge, then the current bridge could be torn down with another five lane bridge eastbound replacing it. It would be a pain during construction, but also would alleviate many of the traffic issues when complete. I'd consider isolating two through lanes on the inside each direction from west of LA 415 to the I-10/12 interchange. The only reason for a south of BTR bridge is to help those south of the city crossing the Mississippi. I'm not saying it's not needed; just saying the goal of relieving I-10 traffic may not be accomplished with any new bridge too distant to change driver habits.

The problem with replacing the I-10 bridge with a twin span is that that would still create a huge bottleneck for through I-10 traffic, which would necessitate either double-decking or major widening on I-10 between the "Splits" (I-10/I-110 and I-10/I-12), which would be a dead letter with the public. Plus, it would require major revisions to both approaches of I-10, meaning the LA 1 interchange on the west approach and the Nicholson Drive/Highland Road offramps on the east approach would have to be redone. Plus, the expansion on the east side would take out real chunks of historic neighborhoods and Expressway Park just below the 10/110 Split. Both conventional widenings and the double-decked "High Pass" alternatives were analyzed as part of the EIS study; and both were rejected due to costs and strong public opposition.

A south freeway bypass would do much to relieve the traffic off of I-10 thithrough BTR; this proposal is more of what jbnv called a "poor boy's" bypass using existing surface arterials. Combine the proposed LA 415 extension to LA 1, the current proposed bridge, and LA 30, and you pretty much have a semi-cohesive "bypass". Problem is, with the way that West Baton Rouge and Iberville Parish is sprawling, and much of East Baton Rouge Parish is pretty much developed out other than the swamplands east of Gardere, this will fill up pretty quickly to the point that some form of limited access bypass will have to be developed sooner than later. Whether that becomes an entirely new-terrain bypass requiring still another bridge, or simply freewayizing LA 1, LA 70, the Sunshine Bridge, and LA 22 to I-10, remains to be seen.

And, there's also the northern semicircle of the proposed toll loop (using US 190 and Airline Highway) to bring into consideration.
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CoreySamson

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2022, 09:43:38 PM »

Thank you for sharing that map, jbnv! I actually used to live in West Baton Rouge Parish, so Iím excited that thereís some proposals for a new bridge now. I personally think the Addis-Bluebonnet Route is the best option (more on that later), but any of the options north of White Castle and St. Gabriel would work. I sincerely hope that the southernmost options are not considered at the end; this is a Baton Rouge issue, not a Donaldsonville issue. Addis is the 3rd fastest growing city in Louisiana, and most other Baton Rouge suburbs are growing fast by Louisiana standards. They should be better connected to each other.

On the LA 1 expressway idea:

I think that would be very feasible. Thereís already frontage roads on at least one side on LA 1 for most of the way from Port Allen to Plaquemine, so you could pull off a Texas-style frontage road freeway setup (or at least an expressway) in the area. The I-10 interchange wouldnít require much upgrading to freeway standards. However, Plaquemine is a roadblock to any plans for an expressway/freeway going to any bridge south of it. LA 1 goes straight through town, and thereís no room to the east to bypass, and going to the west would be going way out of the way. Addis and Brusly at least already have the ROW acquired for a freeway. Plaquemine doesnít. As a result, a bridge south of Plaquemine would likely create a bottleneck in the city for long-distance traffic. Even then, something; anything, really; would be of massive help to the region.

jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2022, 11:46:30 AM »

Thank you for sharing that map, jbnv! I actually used to live in West Baton Rouge Parish, so Iím excited that thereís some proposals for a new bridge now. I personally think the Addis-Bluebonnet Route is the best option (more on that later), but any of the options north of White Castle and St. Gabriel would work. I sincerely hope that the southernmost options are not considered at the end; this is a Baton Rouge issue, not a Donaldsonville issue. Addis is the 3rd fastest growing city in Louisiana, and most other Baton Rouge suburbs are growing fast by Louisiana standards. They should be better connected to each other.

On the LA 1 expressway idea:

I think that would be very feasible. Thereís already frontage roads on at least one side on LA 1 for most of the way from Port Allen to Plaquemine, so you could pull off a Texas-style frontage road freeway setup (or at least an expressway) in the area. The I-10 interchange wouldnít require much upgrading to freeway standards. However, Plaquemine is a roadblock to any plans for an expressway/freeway going to any bridge south of it. LA 1 goes straight through town, and thereís no room to the east to bypass, and going to the west would be going way out of the way. Addis and Brusly at least already have the ROW acquired for a freeway. Plaquemine doesnít. As a result, a bridge south of Plaquemine would likely create a bottleneck in the city for long-distance traffic. Even then, something; anything, really; would be of massive help to the region.

Thanks and you're welcome! I'm putting my early money on the Addis-Bluebonnet connection. I think you're right, Plaquemine is not going to like the idea of a bunch of bypass traffic clogging up their main artery.
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rlb2024

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2022, 10:22:37 PM »

Thank you for sharing that map, jbnv! I actually used to live in West Baton Rouge Parish, so Iím excited that thereís some proposals for a new bridge now. I personally think the Addis-Bluebonnet Route is the best option (more on that later), but any of the options north of White Castle and St. Gabriel would work. I sincerely hope that the southernmost options are not considered at the end; this is a Baton Rouge issue, not a Donaldsonville issue. Addis is the 3rd fastest growing city in Louisiana, and most other Baton Rouge suburbs are growing fast by Louisiana standards. They should be better connected to each other.

On the LA 1 expressway idea:

I think that would be very feasible. Thereís already frontage roads on at least one side on LA 1 for most of the way from Port Allen to Plaquemine, so you could pull off a Texas-style frontage road freeway setup (or at least an expressway) in the area. The I-10 interchange wouldnít require much upgrading to freeway standards. However, Plaquemine is a roadblock to any plans for an expressway/freeway going to any bridge south of it. LA 1 goes straight through town, and thereís no room to the east to bypass, and going to the west would be going way out of the way. Addis and Brusly at least already have the ROW acquired for a freeway. Plaquemine doesnít. As a result, a bridge south of Plaquemine would likely create a bottleneck in the city for long-distance traffic. Even then, something; anything, really; would be of massive help to the region.

Thanks and you're welcome! I'm putting my early money on the Addis-Bluebonnet connection. I think you're right, Plaquemine is not going to like the idea of a bunch of bypass traffic clogging up their main artery.
I would be interested to see how much traffic an Addis-Bluebonnet bridge would take off I-10 at rush hour, what with all the plants along LA 1 and with how much traffic backs up on northbound LA-1 to get on to eastbound I-10 and the bridge.  I used to make visits to a facility just west of LA 1 and north of Plaquemine, and if I didn't leave the site before 2:00pm it would take upwards of 2 hours to get to the I-10 bridge, across the bridge (constantly looking in my rear-view mirror to see who was going to plow into the back of me as I'm stopped in traffic on the downslope of the bridge), and then through BR to I-12 for the rest of the trip home.  I don't miss that at all.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2022, 03:41:54 PM »

LADOTD just released an official webpage dedicated to this project:

https://mrbsouth.com

They also announced that they would begin holding the first of a series of public meetings on the project on April 11th.

Press release here:

http://wwwapps.dotd.la.gov/administration/announcements/Announcement.aspx?key=29706

They've reduced the number of alignments down to 10,

It appears that the Addis/Bluebonnet alternative won't make it due to navigational issues; however, an alignment just south of the "oxbow" of the river just a bit further south of Addis to where LA 30 meets Burbank Drive did make it into the second round of alternatives. Other alternatives are further south of Plaquemine and near White Castle to near St. Gabriel.

I still can't see how they will get this through without a true freeway/tollway bypass, since that would put a lot of pressure on LA 1 and LA 30 as arterial routes. But, we'll see.
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jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2022, 03:57:10 PM »

They've reduced the number of alignments down to 10,

It appears that the Addis/Bluebonnet alternative won't make it due to navigational issues; however, an alignment just south of the "oxbow" of the river just a bit further south of Addis to where LA 30 meets Burbank Drive did make it into the second round of alternatives.

Is this information on the site? It's not in the graphic that the Advocate released.

I still can't see how they will get this through without a true freeway/tollway bypass, since that would put a lot of pressure on LA 1 and LA 30 as arterial routes.

LA 1 is already a divided road. LA 30 needs to be widened south to I-10 even without this bridge.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2022, 07:01:57 PM »

They've reduced the number of alignments down to 10,

It appears that the Addis/Bluebonnet alternative won't make it due to navigational issues; however, an alignment just south of the "oxbow" of the river just a bit further south of Addis to where LA 30 meets Burbank Drive did make it into the second round of alternatives.

Is this information on the site? It's not in the graphic that the Advocate released.

The graphic I quoted is in the latest updated pdf they posted to their website where they showed the alternatives that were retained and rejected. When I have some time, I'll post it here.


I still can't see how they will get this through without a true freeway/tollway bypass, since that would put a lot of pressure on LA 1 and LA 30 as arterial routes.

LA 1 is already a divided road. LA 30 needs to be widened south to I-10 even without this bridge.


LA 1 is 4-lane divided only to Plaquemine, I believe; then it goes to 2-lane from there to Donaldsonville. So, even with some alternatives, that will have to be widened as well.
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jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2022, 09:03:59 AM »

LA 1 is 4-lane divided only to Plaquemine, I believe; then it goes to 2-lane from there to Donaldsonville. So, even with some alternatives, that will have to be widened as well.

It's four lanes all the way to White Castle. It uses two separate streets through the center of Plaquemine, and is 4+1 for a stretch south of Plaquemine before splitting again.
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jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2022, 11:14:35 AM »

Apparently everyone else is quickly realizing that LA 30 needs to be widened.

Quote
With new Mississippi River Bridge planned, coalition calls for La. 30 widening in Ascension

With 10 potential sites for a new Mississippi River bridge on the drawing board, Ascension Parish leaders have formed a coalition to advocate for expanding a heavily traveled highway through the parish.

The project, which would expand La. 30 from two to four lanes, has been long-sought for the east bank of the parish, which will be impacted traffic-wise with whatever new bridge is built.

"On the other side of the river, the impact of the new bridge will be the same on La. 1," Ascension Chamber of Commerce President Anthony Ramirez said.

The Highway 30 Coalition of more than 20 representatives of Ascension Parish elected officials, public bodies, civic groups and industry was launched Tuesday at a press conference in Gonzales.
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2022, 07:28:31 PM »

It's four lanes all the way to White Castle.

Needs to be four lanes to Whataburger.
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2022, 01:58:32 PM »

It's four lanes all the way to White Castle.

Needs to be four lanes to Whataburger.
Whataburger is on Burbank, within the shadow of Tiger Stadium.
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jbnv

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2022, 11:07:03 AM »

First public meeting was yesterday in Baton Rouge. Not much to report; basically everything that they're putting on mrbsouth.com but with people there to answer questions.

One big takeaway: They expect the project to cost $1.3-1.9 billion in total.
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2022, 03:40:38 PM »

Excerpts from the Advocate's report on the meeting in Baton Rouge:

Quote
A total of 325 had visited the open house by 6:30 p.m., according to a spokesperson for DOTD.

Quote
"We live in University Club," said Sally Daly. "It is going to impact us. Somebody is going to be mad."

Officials are under pressure to settle on a site, in part because some top lawmakers are reluctant to commit $500 million for a bridge without a site picked.

Jay Campbell, chairman of the seven-member state panel that will make the choice, was at the meeting and said he hopes to trim the list of possibilities to three by the third or fourth week of May. "Obviously the Legislature wants to see a level of progress," Campbell said. "But we have to go through the processes that are mandated to get any kind of federal funding," said Campbell, who leads the Capital Area Road and Bridge District.

Quote
One recurring worry among some at the open house is the possibility that already-crowded Bluebonnet Boulevard could become a link between Interstate 10 and La. Hwy. 30 on the east side. Fred Raiford, director of transportation and drainage for East Baton Rouge Parish, sits on the seven-member panel and has said he does not want Bluebonnet to serve as a connector between I-10 and La. 30.

Quote
Judy Eits said she is bothered that the bridge may be constructed too far south, to get traffic to New Orleans. Eits said lots of traffic on the current bridge near Port Allen, especially 18-wheelers, is trying to get to I-12 on the way east and those drivers want to avoid New Orleans. "I don't know that is our big problem," she said, meaning making it easier for motorists to get to eastbound I-10.

Julius Cline, of Baton Rouge, made a similar point. "I am concerned that they are going to build it so far south it is not going to help Baton Rouge," Cline said.

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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2022, 04:06:03 PM »

Yeah, building this bridge as a connection to existing arterial streets is a recipe for disaster. It needs to be a full freeway bypass of I-10 from west of Westport to near Addis to just north of Gonzales.

Or, just build a connection to US 190 west of Lobdell and upgrade Airline Highway to freeway all the way down to Jefferson Highway (the BUMP project).
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2022, 07:17:25 PM »

Quote
Judy Eits said she is bothered that the bridge may be constructed too far south, to get traffic to New Orleans. Eits said lots of traffic on the current bridge near Port Allen, especially 18-wheelers, is trying to get to I-12 on the way east and those drivers want to avoid New Orleans. "I don't know that is our big problem," she said, meaning making it easier for motorists to get to eastbound I-10.

Julius Cline, of Baton Rouge, made a similar point. "I am concerned that they are going to build it so far south it is not going to help Baton Rouge," Cline said.
Exactly my biggest fear about the project. With the current political climate, people are likely going to endlessly argue over where the bridge should go, and probably will end up putting it in the path of least resistance, which inevitably will be where it is of least help to BR. I genuinely hope that this won't be the case. This bridge should relieve the Horace Wilkinson bridge, not the Sunshine bridge.

I totally get not bringing it in to Bluebonnet. That area was busy when I lived there, and I'm sure it's only gotten busier since then. Adding more traffic to that area might result in a bigger mess than what BR is right now. I feel like the best course of action to relieve traffic off of I-10 and Bluebonnet would be to construct a new arterial to the south of Highland Road over towards Prairieville over all that undeveloped land out there (but wasn't there a group of NIMBYs that opposed any construction in that area? My memory is fuzzy).

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2022, 01:26:32 PM »

DOTD has met and reduced the list of possible routes from ten to three. Awaiting confirmation on which three have been chosen. A tweet from BRAC says the remaining options are "each located in or near Iberville Parish" and I saw a graphic that shows three options all south of Plaquemines, which I think is bad news for the project.

UPDATE via DOTD. Yeah, no way the people of Plaquemine let that fly.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2022, 01:36:06 PM by jbnv »
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2022, 04:00:21 PM »

DOTD has met and reduced the list of possible routes from ten to three. Awaiting confirmation on which three have been chosen. A tweet from BRAC says the remaining options are "each located in or near Iberville Parish" and I saw a graphic that shows three options all south of Plaquemines, which I think is bad news for the project.

UPDATE via DOTD. Yeah, no way the people of Plaquemine let that fly.


Wow.  That is pretty much useless for relieving I-10 traffic on the bridge in Baton Rouge.  Glad I don't have to cross that bridge much anymore -- one of the benefits of retirement.
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2022, 04:43:33 PM »

They need to build a reasonable bypass and then afterwards tear down the existing bridge, rebuild it, and expand it to 8-10 lanes.
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #45 on: May 27, 2022, 05:36:05 PM »

They need to build a reasonable bypass and then afterwards tear down the existing bridge, rebuild it, and expand it to 8-10 lanes.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #46 on: May 27, 2022, 05:45:01 PM »

They need to build a reasonable bypass and then afterwards tear down the existing bridge, rebuild it, and expand it to 8-10 lanes.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Yeah, without any realistic plan to pay for it, a bypass is out of the question. And demolishing and rebuilding the Horace Wilkinson is flatly not going to happen no matter how much cash the government prints.

Personally, if I were DOTD I wouldn't even bother with a new bridge at this point. I'd take the $500 million or so and invest it in upgrades to the existing network of highways in the region:

* Make LA 1 and LA 3089 a limited-access freeway between US 160 and LA 70. (This probably won't ever happen entirely through Plaquemine and Donaldsonville, but pretty much all of the rest of the stretch is already divided.

* Make LA 70 four-lane divided from LA 3127 to LA 22. Then make the stretch between LA 3127 and LA 3125 limited access (this includes the Sunshine Bridge).

* Make LA 3125 and LA 3127 four-lane divided.

These changes make the poor-man's bypass around Baton Rouge via the Sunshine Bridge. Then make improvements that give Baton Rouge-area drivers more viable options besides I-10:

* Make LA 30 expressway from LSU to Airline Highway (US 61). This needs to be done anyway, whether we get a new bridge or not.

* Build overpasses on Airline Highway at intersections with state highways that also intersect I-10 (LA 30, LA 22, LA 641 at a minimum).

We should also have a serious conversation about limiting access to Airline Highway entirely between the Huey P. Long Bridge (spit) and I-10. That's going to cost a lot more than a Mississippi River bridge but, again, it would make Airline Highway more of a viable alternative to I-10 for some drivers.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2022, 08:57:46 PM »

Oh itíll happen itís just a matter of when not if. Bridges donít last forever.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #48 on: May 28, 2022, 09:07:35 PM »

They need to build a reasonable bypass and then afterwards tear down the existing bridge, rebuild it, and expand it to 8-10 lanes.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Also, would require complete rebuilding of the I-10/I-110 Split interchange and excessive ROW takings over downtown. DOA.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Future Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge
« Reply #49 on: May 28, 2022, 09:18:12 PM »

Those proposed crossings would not be too bad IF this was connected to a full south freeway/tollway BTR bypass.   

But, for traffic coming from Plaquemine or Addis or the Port of West Baton Rouge wanting to access I-10 to get to I-12 or downtown? This does absolutely nothing for them.

A freeway upgrade of LA 1/LA 3089/LA 70 (with bypasses of Plaquemine, Donaldsonville, Addis, and White Castle) might not be so feasible because of the proximity of the Union Pacific Railroad line along LA 1, bringing the freeway through Port Allen proper, and upgrading the capacity of the LA 1/I-10 interchange with connections to the PoWBR.

Also, the Sunshine Bridge would be a bit too far south to be useful as a BTR bypass.

The best location for an I-10 bypass bridge would be just south of Addis to near where Bluebonnet Road meets Gardere Lane (LA 30), then generally paralleling Bluebonnet just to the south of Burbank Lane on the boundary of the wetlands to meet I-10 south of the Perkins Road/Highland Road interchange. That could then tie into a western extension to connect with I-10 west of LA 415, and then US 190 just west of Lobdell (the current LA 415 interchange). You'd have to find a way to weave the highway around the casino located at the extension of Bluebonnet, but there is ROW available (if a bit tight).

If they go here with the bridge crossing, they better start planning on upgrading Airline Highway & US 190 to freeway standards and upgrading the 190 Mississippi River Bridge, because this isn't solving the issue at all.

Either that, or I-49 South between Lafayette and New Orleans becomes the "real" BTR bypass.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2022, 09:23:06 PM by Anthony_JK »
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