I-10 Widening Project....Making sense of it all

For those who may not know, the LADOTD is embarking on a $1.1 billion (used to be $350 million) project to widen the interstate from the downtown bridge to the 10/12 split. Needless to say, this will have drastic consequences for how people get around Baton Rouge for decades. It’s important we voice our opinions whenever possible to make sure that accommodations for bikes and pedestrians are preserved and enhanced. Here are some helpful links and bike/ped specific information:

Project website

PUBLIC MEETINGS

  • November 19th, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

    West Baton Rouge Parish Conference Center- 2750 North Westport Drive
    Port Allen, LA 70767

  • November 20th, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

    Baton Rouge Marriott - 5500 Hilton Avenue
    Baton Rouge, LA 70808

PLEASE make an effort to attend one of these.

Environmental Assessment - This is basically all the project’s technical information. It’s a very large document with a ton of information. As you can see, there is a lot to like about it, such as the addition of some paths and bike/ped access. There is also a lot that is unclear, such as what happens to certain streets/areas during years of construction. However, the mere fact that DOTD has included consideration for non-motorized users is a big win. We thank you for your engagement so far and urge you to stay engaged in the process as you’re able to. Below is some bike/pedestrian specific language taken directly from it. (By the way, “No-Build Alternative” is their name for the current configuration).

From: SUMMARY OF PERMITS, MITIGATION, AND COMMITMENTS

1. LA DOTD has committed to implementing CSS (Context Sensitive Solutions) and CC (Community Connections) in the vicinity of the Perkins Road ramps including but not limited to the extension of Greenwood Drive, a multiuse path from the Perkins Road Overpass to Perkins Road near the Acadian Village Shopping Center, new parking areas, restoration of existing parking areas under I-10 and under the off ramp to be removed, and additional green space

2. LA DOTD has committed to implementing CSS and CC in the form of a multiuse path or greenway to run from 10th Street at Expressway Park to Dalrymple Drive within existing right of way including access to East Polk Street Park and a pedestrian crossing at March Street and Dalrymple Drive.

3. LA DOTD is considering implementing CSS and CC in the form of a multiuse path connecting Expressway Park via existing sidewalks and streets to the South Boulevard levee trailhead.

4.LA DOTD has committed to the construction of a “signature bridge” at this location (Nairn Drive). The signature bridge will have pedestrian and bicycle accommodations as well as decorative screening and possible rest areas or bump outs.

3.10.3 Pedestrian and Bicycle Concerns

The No-Build Alternative will not involve construction in the immediate short-term; therefore, it will neither provide for nor interfere with pedestrian and bicycle routes.

The Preferred Alternative is proposed with elements that are in accordance with area master plans either developed or under development for pedestrian and bicycle improvements and LA DOTD Complete Streets Policy. Specifically, this project will create a multiuse path to connect Expressway Park to Dalrymple and preserve connectivity for non-motorized users between streets that SPN H.004100 EA – CHAPTER 3.0 2019 1018 Draft EA Rev5.2 3-68 currently pass under I-10. Lighting and landscaping will enhance the proposed and existing routes. Crosswalks will be restored and/or included to ensure Complete Streets compliance.

Crosswalks will also be installed in accordance with LA DOTDs Complete Streets policy along Acadian, which will allow pedestrians and cyclists travelling on the east side of Acadian to cross to the west side for safe crossing of the I-10 ramps and to cross between restaurants and businesses located on both sides of Acadian. Additionally, these new crossings and trail could be incorporated into a larger vision to connect Acadian to Nairn Park, where safe crossing of I-10 can be accomplished over the new Nairn bridge.

Removal of the Perkins ramps will allow for the extension of Greenwood Drive and a new multiuse path from the Perkins Overpass area along the new extension to the Acadian Village shopping center and Perkins. Presently, there is no dedicated pedestrian or bike path to link the Perkins Overpass with the restaurants and shopping areas of the Perkins Road Arts District and Acadian Village and Acadian-Perkins shopping centers.

The Nairn bridge over I-10 will be replaced under the Preferred Alternative. As proposed, the new bridge will accommodate a multiuse path on the east side and a pedestrian only path on the west side. Both paths will end in proximity to where bridge lanes return to grade (ground level), allowing East Baton Rouge Parish to connect the multiuse trail with the existing trail leading to the Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet School and future connectivity with a new sidewalk on the west side.

3.18.2 Environmental Consequences

The No-Build Alternative (status quo) would not change the present development pattern of land use categories in the project study area, neither would it provide support or connecting facilities for bike and pedestrian improvements in concert with the following master plans:

• PlanWEST

• East Baton Rouge Parish Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan

• Baton Rouge Lakes Master Plan

• Baton Rouge Phase II/Baton Rouge Master Plan

• Master Plan for the Baton Rouge Health District