I-12 widening project to begin in St. Tammany Parish
Monday, May 04, 2020 at 12:48:51 PM
ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announces work on the highly anticipated expansion of Interstate 12 from LA 59 to U.S. 190 is scheduled to begin this week.

Phase two, which will widen I-12 from U.S. 190 to LA 21 was bid on Wednesday, April 29.

Phase one will widen 3.023 miles of pavement surface from U.S. 190 to LA 59 into the median, overlaying the existing lanes with asphalt, and installing concrete median protection. The project also includes widening the bridges over U.S. 190, the Ponchatolawa Creek and the Tammany Trace bike path.

James Construction Group, LLC is the contractor for phase 1. The project, which costs more than $54 million, is expected to be completed within two and a half years.

This is the first of three phases to widen I-12.

JB James Construction, LLC has been identified as the apparent low bidder for phase two, with work expected to cost $59.1 million. Construction is expected to begin in early fall and take around two years to complete.

“This truly is a great day for Southeast Louisiana as we begin construction on a crucial project,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “This project certainly is a team project and could not have been started without our state and federal partners, showing what we can do when we have funding. Investing in infrastructure has been a priority for my administration and I am proud to move forward with another project to improve the quality of life for thousands of Louisianans.”

“The I-12 groundbreaking is great news for the safety of the St. Tammany community and the thousands of people who frequently travel this interstate, and I’m excited that progress is being made to move this critical project forward,” said U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise. “Widening I-12 in St. Tammany Parish has long been a top priority of mine, and in 2018, I worked directly with the Trump Administration to help St. Tammany receive a $25 million BUILD Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for this vital project. Widening this stretch of I-12 will improve safety and expand economic growth throughout Southeast Louisiana, and I will continue fighting for critical infrastructure funding for our region.”

Most of the funding for phase one, $43.4 million, comes from federal redistribution funds, which is money left over from other federally sourced projects across the country. St. Tammany Parish provided $8 million and the remaining $2.8 million has been sourced through the state.

Funding for phase two is being sourced through a $25 million federal BUILD grant, obtained by St. Tammany Parish, as well as a $7.2 million commitment from the parish. The remaining funds are comprised of $22.3 million from other federal sources and $4.6 million from the state.

“Safe and efficient travel is our top priority,” said Secretary Shawn Wilson. “With the support of this administration, we are able prove that again as we bring this project to the forefront with innovative funding and collaboration. The infrastructure needs are critical in this corridor. This is just one of three phases to widen I-12, and in turn, improve travel time, save lives and strengthen this section as a vital economic corridor.”

On average, 70,000 drivers use that stretch of I-12 daily, but estimates show that number could grow by 40,000 by 2036. However, the need for expansion is present now. DOTD believes the expansion of I-12 will save drivers time and improve safety.

“The widening of I-12 will make a dramatic and positive difference in travel for St. Tammany residents,” said Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President. “We are looking forward to the start and will keep all citizens informed as construction gets underway.”

“When it comes to our infrastructure needs, today is a good day,” State Senator Patrick McMath said. “As we begin the first phase of the I-12 expansion, residents and visitors of western St. Tammany will begin to see real progress in addressing the safety concerns and congestion that have plagued our section of interstate for far too long. I’d like to personally thank the administration, DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson and all those involved who made this project a top priority by helping us secure the necessary funding for this project.”

"The I-12 widening project in St. Tammany is arguably the most important transportation investment in our area,” State Representative Mark Wright said. “On behalf of District 77, I greatly appreciate the efforts of Gov. Edwards, Secretary Wilson, and our Federal delegation to move this forward."

Two lanes in each direction will remain open to traffic during construction of phase 1. Any lane closures limiting traffic to less than two open lanes would occur at night and would not be continuous throughout the project corridor.

Phase three includes I-12 from LA 21 to LA 1077. Phase three does not have an anticipated letting date as a funding source has not been identified yet.