BATON ROUGE -- Allocation of more than $80 million in federal funds could send several improvement projects statewide to the express route.
The Federal Highway Administration awarded $80,699,190 in new federal funding to Louisiana to advance major roadwork across the state.
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The Interstate 10 interchange at Pecue Lane on the south end of Baton Rouge is included in the project list.
Clearing and grubbing are mostly completed on the project but the funds will provide for bridge construction and additional right-of-way acquisition to move the project forward more quickly, said District 6 Congressman Garret Graves, R-South Louisiana, who worked closely with East Baton Rouge Parish and DOTD on the Pecue project.
The Pecue project would play a major role in ending bottlenecks which have stretched from I-10 to parts of 1-12 and often as far as the Mississippi River Bridge. The route is also a major artery for commuter traffic through the River Parish industrial corridor, which employs workers from throughout much of southeast Louisiana.
The new federal funding is another huge step among many to reduce traffic in the Capital Region, Graves said.
"The reconfiguration of the Washington Street and Terrace Street exits, widening of I-10 from Highland Road to Prairieville, and the proposed improvements from I-10 from Highland Road to Prairieville, and the proposed improvements to I-10 from Port Allen to the split are all steps in the right direction, which ultimately must lead us to a new bridge over the Mississippi River, among other regional priorities," he said. "We appreciate DOTD Secretary (Shawn) Wilson for his efforts to work with us on these priorities."
The allocation of redistributed funds -- for the 18th consecutive year -- marks the largest the state has ever received. The department qualified for the additional federal funds after successfully allocating the full amount of its available federal funding to construction projects for the 2017-18 federal fiscal year.
“By allocating our federal resources to fund critical projects around Louisiana, we are demonstrating how much we are able to do to improve infrastructure when these funds are available,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We have no shortage of needs, and we are addressing some of the most critical infrastructure projects throughout the state. Most importantly, major projects are being addressed with innovative funding mechanisms in nearly every corner of the state. These additional federal funds will be put to good use very quickly, and we appreciate the federal government recognizing that Louisiana's infrastructure is a worthwhile investment.”
The money will play a huge role in moving state projects forward, Wilson said.
“This money will go toward critical improvements to keep people moving safely, as well as improvements to several railroad crossings, that’s good news. The bad news is this is likely the last year the state will receive the additional federal money due to a lack of funding for additional state match.”
Each year the Federal Highway Administration allocates funds that were not used by other states or national programs. The LA DOTD will use the newly awarded additional funds on projects where the funds can be obligated by Sept. 30, 2018.
The $80 million in additional funding will be used on projects that include:
- Resurfacing portions of I-20 in north Louisiana.
- Improvements at six railroad crossing across the state (La. 434 in Duson, La. 318 in St. Mary Parish, La. 101 in Lacassine, US 90 in Metairie, La. 27 in DeQuincy and La. 641 in Gramercy)
- Active transportation projects (multi-use path from North Blvd. to Expressway Park) and Shreveport (transit amenities)
- Improvements at I-10 at US 171 in Lake Charles
Each August, the U.S. Department of Transportation redistributes federal funding to states that are successful in obligating their full federal highway funding allotment during the fiscal year, which spans from October 1 through September 30.