Year-end review showcases DOTD’s strides to improve Louisiana’s roads and bridges
Monday, January 06, 2014 at 8:08:28 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas announced that the state has invested over $705 million in transportation infrastructure projects in 2013, resulting in 326 projects that helped to improve over 1,200 miles of Louisiana’s roadways and 46 bridges.

"This year, we have enjoyed many accomplishments as a department toward improving the quality of life for Louisiana’s residents," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "I look forward to a great 2014 as we continue our dedication to advance the transportation system of our state."

Since the Jindal administration took office in January 2008, an unprecedented $5.6 billion has been invested in Louisiana’s infrastructure. This includes more than 2,400 projects and approximately 6,500 miles of roadway improvements.

The state continues to prioritize projects along major corridors. This investment has helped to create a safer and more efficient highway system for drivers in Louisiana.

Major projects that began in 2013 include:

$43.9 million I-49 North, Segment J – A $49.4 million project to construct approximately 4.3 miles of interstate in Shreveport from Martin Luther King Boulevard to La. 1 began in April. The start of construction on this project continues DOTD’s efforts to complete the 36-mile section of new interstate between Shreveport and the Arkansas state line. Work on segment J is scheduled to be complete in fall 2015.

$38.6 million – Cove Lane Interchange in Lake Charles – This project will construct a full interchange at Cove Lane and I-210, giving access in all directions. A roundabout will be built along Cove Lane at West Prien Lake Road, and Cove Lane will be extended north to connect with a new roadway. The project will help to alleviate congestion and create better access for drivers exiting I-210 onto Cove Lane. Construction began in October and is scheduled to be complete in November 2014.

$16.4 million – La. 1 widening from Mansura to Marksville – This project will widen approximately 3.8 miles of La. 1 from two to five lanes between Mansura and Marksville. The new road will have two lanes in each direction and a continuous center turn lane. This section of La. 1 currently serves 13,100 vehicles per day. It is estimated that this number will increase to 18,000 within the next ten years. Work on the project began in October and will finish in October 2015.

$11.3 million – I-12 widening in Mandeville – In April, DOTD marked the start of construction on a project to widen U.S. 190 from two to four lanes in Mandeville between La. 3228 and Lonesome Road. In addition, the existing two-lane bridge over Bayou Chinchuba will be replaced with two new bridge spans, each with two lanes, keeping the bridges consistent with the new four-lane roadway. There will also be some traffic signal, ditch and sidewalk improvements. Work on the project is scheduled to be complete in spring 2014.

Major projects that finished in 2013 include:

$1.2 billion – Huey P. Long Bridge Widening – In June, the $1.2 billion widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans was completed and opened to traffic approximately four months ahead of schedule. The widening project, which began in 2006, expanded the bridge to three lanes in each direction with shoulders. The driving surfaces more than doubled from 18 feet wide to 43 feet wide. The completed bridge will be able to carry more than twice the amount of traffic as it could prior to the widening. Before the project, the bridge carried about 50,000 vehicles per day. The new bridge will be able to support over 100,000 vehicles per day.

$86.2 million – I-10 widening from 10/12 Split to Siegen LaneThis project widened I-10 from four to six lanes from the 10/12 split to approximately 1,500 feet past the Siegen Lane overpass. More than 73,000 drivers travel this road each day. Work on the project began in January 2009 and was completed in February 2013.

$30.4 million – Bayou Lafourche Bridge at Larose replacement project – This project replaced an old two-lane pontoon bridge on La. 310, which connects La. 1 to La. 308. The new bridge, which was built about a quarter mile away from the existing bridge, is a six-lane vertical-lift bridge that connects with the La. 657 alignment, built in 2004. Completion of the project, in combination with the ongoing upgrade of La. 1 from Port Fourchon to Golden Meadow, provides a substantially more efficient freight corridor to access Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas resources. Work on the project began in July 2010 and was completed in March 2013.

$60 million – I-10 widening from Siegen Lane to Highland Road – This project widened I-10 from four to six lanes between Siegen Lane and Highland Road. The project helped to relieve congestion and improve safety for approximately 83,000 drivers using this section of I-10 each day. Construction began in August 2010 and finished in June 2013.

$21.9 million – I-12 widening from Juban Road to Walker – This project widened 3.2 miles of I-12 from Juban Road (La. 1026) to Walker (La. 447) from two to three lanes in each direction. Work began in December 2011 and finished in December 2013.

Quality Surface Program:

The passage of key legislation to bond the State Highway Improvement Fund (SHIF) revenue stream for non-federal aid routes, combined with the SHIF’s regular funds, allowed the state to implement the Quality Surface Program. This more than $425 million initiative will resurface and repair approximately 1,100 miles of roadways across the state, many in rural areas, which in some cases haven’t been touched in over 30 years. This year, DOTD accepted bids for over $121 million in work to improve over 332 miles of these roadways.

I-49 North:

In November, 18.9 miles of I-49 North was opened to traffic, between La. 1 and U.S. 71. The $171 million stretch will support an average of 10,000 commuters daily. The entire I-49 North project spans 36 miles from north of Shreveport to the Arkansas border. Another 11 miles, Segments A-D, are near completion and will be opened to local traffic in March 2014. The last five miles of the project, Segment J and Segment K, remain to be constructed. Construction on Segment J is already underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2015. Segment K will be let for construction in January 2014. The entire I-49 North project is estimated to be completed by 2016-2017. To date, the Jindal Administration has invested a total of $375 million to I-49 North – more than half of the total project cost of $670 million.

I-49 South:

DOTD announced its update and plan for the continued development of I-49 South, which will result in $3.7 billion in cost savings. The I-49 South project has converted more than 100 of the 160 miles of U.S. 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans into an interstate-quality roadway, enhancing travel between the two cities and ultimately across the state and nation once completed. In its efforts to move forward on I-49 South, DOTD recently completed a study that analyzed the corridor from Raceland to the Westbank Expressway and from Wax Lake Outlet to Berwick. The study helped find improvements and efficiencies to lower costs and re-evaluated the concept for converting U.S. 90 to an interstate facility.

Last month, DOTD announced the winning bid for the next project to upgrade U.S. 90, the future I-49 South corridor, to interstate standards. The winning bid of $57.1 million was submitted by James Construction Group LLC of Baton Rouge. The project will widen U.S. 90 along the U.S. 90/I-49 South corridor from north of Ambassador Caffery Parkway to Albertsons Parkway in Lafayette Parish.

Highway Safety:

Safety on Louisiana’s roadways continues to be a top priority for DOTD. Since 2007, through the Destination Zero Deaths initiative, Louisiana has seen a dramatic 32% reduction in traffic fatalities with the unified efforts of the Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana State Police, and DOTD working in cooperation with local public works departments and local law enforcement.

In the last year, DOTD took bids on a number of projects to install cable barriers along Louisiana’s interstate highways in an effort to improve safety. There are currently more than 80 miles of cable barriers installed statewide. DOTD’s goal is to have cable barriers installed along all of Louisiana’s interstate highways within the next three years.

  • A $7.8 million project to install approximately 60 miles of cable barriers in the median of I-20 in Madison and Richland parishes. Work on the project should begin in early spring 2014 and finish in fall 2015.
  • A $4.6 million project to install approximately 35 miles of cable barriers in the median of I-20 in Bossier and Webster parishes. Work on the project should begin in early spring 2014 and finish by summer 2015.
  • A $3.7 million project to install approximately 37 miles of cable barriers in the median of I-20 in Bienville and Caddo parishes. Work on the project should in spring 2014 and finish by fall 2015.

2013 Recognitions:

CMAA Award – DOTD was presented with the 2013 Project Achievement Award by the Construction Management Association of America Gulf Coast Chapter in the category of "Program Management- infrastructure less than $25 million." DOTD and the national infrastructure solutions firm HNTB Corporation were recognized for the successful delivery and program management of the $11.3 million French Quarter projects, which were completed under budget and within schedule.

TransOvation Award – DOTD was recognized by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association with a "Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation Award." The award honored DOTD’s Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development as a model of innovation for accelerating the completion of the largest infrastructure revitalization program in Louisiana’s history. DOTD’s winning entry earned top honors in the "Innovative Contracting: Fixed-Price, Best Design Procurement" category. To expedite the delivery of the projects, a program manager was brought on board in 2002 and innovative project delivery methods were also put in place, such as expediting right-of-way methods, utility relocations, and environmental permitting. These factors have allowed delivery of projects 20 years sooner than the original 2031 completion date.

For more information, please visit, email, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).