DOTD announces stimulus projects
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 4:17:15 PM

DOTD chief: Louisiana ‘ready to roll out the orange barrels’ on stimulus projects

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana is "ready to roll out the orange barrels" on more than $300 million in road and bridge projects to be funded by the federal economic stimulus package, Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D., said Tuesday.

"We are in an excellent position to move forward on Louisiana projects that will create Louisiana jobs," Ankner said. "These projects also will preserve our highway investments, improve our road and bridge safety and reduce the time citizens spend in congestion."

DOTD will receive $308 million for projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Most of the Louisiana projects will be let to bid within 120 days, and two projects will go to bid within 30 days, Ankner said. The federal guidelines stipulate that half of the money must be committed within 120 days, and the rest must be committed within one year.

DOTD will present the project list to the joint transportation and budget committees this week. The list includes interstate projects to relieve congestion, bridge replacement projects and road preservation work. Some of the larger projects include improvements to the I-10/Causeway Boulevard interchange in Jefferson Parish, I-10 widening from Siegen Lane to Highland Road in Baton Rouge and I-49 work in Caddo and Iberia parishes.

The I-10 widening and I-49 South projects will be advertised as "design-build" jobs, meaning DOTD will accept proposals from engineering and construction teams for the design and construction of the projects. The design-build method can shorten the time frame under which projects can be completed.

Other projects include road preservation work in Calcasieu, Jackson, Concordia, Catahoula and Rapides Parishes, congestion-relief work in St. Tammany Parish and local bridge projects throughout Louisiana. To select the projects, DOTD created a geographically equitable list that gave preference to projects that were ready to be let and had no further engineering or right-of-way costs. Other criteria included bridge projects and road projects that had high volume and statewide economic impacts, provided national significance and complemented the previous investment of state dollars.

The projects include:

· I-10/Causeway Boulevard interchange improvements in Jefferson Parish, Phase 2. This $75 million project will complete DOTD’s efforts to improve efficiency and safety at this congested interchange. Phase 1, which includes new ramps from I-10 West to Causeway, is under construction.

· I-10 widening, from Siegen Lane to Highland Road in Baton Rouge. This $72 million project will continue DOTD’s efforts to relieve congestion and improve safety for drivers in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes. Another widening project, from the I-10/I-12 split to Siegen Lane, already is under construction.

· I-49 North, from Mira-Myrtis Road to La. 168 in Caddo Parish. This $42 million project will create 4.6 miles of new interstate, continuing the state’s commitment to finish I-49 from Shreveport to Arkansas. This project is scheduled to be let in March.

· Larose Bridge replacement in Lafourche Parish. This $36 million project will replace the Larose Bridge, which crosses Bayou Lafourche. It will improve traffic flow as DOTD integrates the roadway network into La. 1. This project is scheduled to be let in March.

· I-49 South interchange improvements, US 90 at La. 85, in Iberia Parish. This $34 million project will construct a new overpass and ramps, creating an interchange; continuing the DOTD efforts to make US 90 into a limited-access highway and provide about 20 miles of traffic signal-free flow.

· I-210 road preservation from Calcasieu River Bridge to I-10 in Lake Charles. This $24 million project will overlay about 9.5 miles of I-210.

· Interchange improvements in St. Tammany Parish. Three interchanges (La. 59 at I-12, US 11 at I-12 and I-59 at US 11 and La. 1090) will be improved to relieve congestion and complement the I-12 work in Slidell. Project totals, $16.2 million.

· Various bridge repairs, statewide. DOTD will spend $10 million on repairs to local bridges.

· US 167 from Quitman to Lincoln Parish, in Jackson Parish. This $7 million project will reconstruct about 6.2 miles of existing roadway.

· US 425, from US 65 to Foules in Concordia and Catahoula parishes. This $6 million project will overlay 7.7 miles of highway.

· La. 28 in Rapides Parish. This project will commit $3 million in stimulus funds to reconstruct existing lanes. Two new lanes will be constructed with state surplus funds appropriated in 2008.

Individual project costs are estimated. Actual amount of money expected to be available through federal stimulus bill is $308 million.