DOTD celebrates completion of I-12 widening in Livingston Parish
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 3:02:29 PM
Construction eases congestion between Walker and Satsuma Roads

Walker, La. – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas and the Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce hosted a ceremonial ribbon-cutting marking the completion of the latest installment of the Geaux Wider Program – a $26.5 million Interstate12 widening project between Walker Road (La. 447) to west of Satsuma Road.

The event, held at the northwest frontage road parking lot near the Suma Hall Community Center, was attended by local leaders and elected officials, and highlighted improvements to approximately 3.6 miles of I-12 that was widened from four to six lanes.

Secretary LeBas said, “The I-12 corridor is the eastern gateway to Livingston Parish and Louisiana’s Capital Region, with a significant amount of Baton Rouge’s expansion and development taking place along this section. This widening project will facilitate the growth and economic development of the Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Walker, and Hammond areas as they continue to grow.”

The project widened I-12 from Walker Road to a half mile west of Satsuma Road and was designed to allow for safer, more efficient travel for more than 48,000 drivers using this segment each day. The locally-based contractor was Gilchrist Construction Co., LLC of Denham Springs.

Interstate 12 is of key strategic importance in the regional transportation system as it is the north bypass for I-10 around New Orleans and connects to I-55 in Hammond, I-59 in Slidell and ultimately reconnects with I-10. It is important because this section of I-12 is a major east-west corridor connecting the southeastern United States and providing access to metropolitan areas, including Houston, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Jacksonville.

“The chamber has included the I-12 expansion as part of its priorities for nearly a decade,” said April Wehrs, president and CEO of LPC. “The chamber is proud to be a partner in bringing attention to opportunities to improve commerce and infrastructure in Livingston Parish.”

The Geaux Wider Program is a multi-year/multi-project construction initiative designed to increase capacity, improve safety and enhance mobility along segments of Interstates 10 and 12 in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes for approximately 300,000 daily commuters. To date, the program has completed more than $340 million in infrastructure improvements that widened more than 20 miles of highway resulting in reduced travel times, and improved economic development opportunities in the capital region.

The following segments have been constructed under the Geaux Wider program.

• I-12, from O’Neal Lane to Pete’s Highway (completed in 2012).
• I-12, from Pete’s Highway to Juban Road (completed in 2012).
• I-10, from the I-10/12 junction to Siegen Lane (completed in 2013).
• I-10, from Siegen Lane to Highland Road (completed in 2013).
• I-12, from Juban Road to Walker Road (completed in 2013).
• I-12, from Walker Road to west of Satsuma Road (completed in 2015).
“This I-12 corridor is where it’s happening,” said Senator Dale Erdey. “Livingston Parish doesn’t have the Mississippi River; but what we do have is the I-12 corridor – that east/west connection from California all the way to Florida. And here’s a prime example of the saying, ‘Build the roads and they will come.’ It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once we get the infrastructure in place, businesses will come.”

“We know this [the I-12 corridor] is where the future growth is coming; we’re planning for that,” said Parish President Layton Ricks. “This is a step in the right direction. Moving right on into Livingston and, ultimately, all the way over to Slidell – or as far as we can go with it – would be an asset to move traffic through here.”

“We applaud the Geaux Wider project for supporting the growth and economic development of this region,” said James E. Cathey, Jr., CEO of North Oaks Health System. “By creating cohesion along the I-12 corridor, it contributes to its attractiveness as a home for businesses and the families for which we provide healthcare.”

During Governor Jindal’s administration, more than $387 million has been invested in the I-12 corridor.