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DOTD discusses plans to accommodate wide loads during I-10 expansion
BATON ROUGE - By 2027 there will be a new and improved interstate through Baton Rouge, but until then there will be lane closures and logistics to be worked out.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is encouraging drivers to make changes and take alternate routes. Significant lane closures will begin on I-10 in 2024. Before that happens, the state is working to find a plan for oversized loads.
While numbers vary, as many as 1,000 oversized loads (over 8'6" wide and up to 16' wide) move through the capital city each week. Loads over 8’6” wide or 65’ long or 14’ high or overweight loads have to get permits to travel through Baton Rouge.
Starting in 2024, a portion of the construction zone will require about 14 months of lane closures to accommodate the interstate expansion.
As drivers enter and exit the Mississippi River bridge, they'll be forced into one lane in either direction at the I-10/I-110 merge. The normal exit eastbound off of the bridge will be closed. This area is already known as a major trouble spot for drivers, causing backups and delays. The state is shuffling around a couple of ideas to move larger loads through and one could include widening the shoulders.
"We're trying to minimize the amount of inconvenience on everyone," said DOTD spokesman Rodney Mallett. "An oversized load needs to get through, and if there's a way we can extend the shoulders or make it a little wider so they can get through then we're certainly going to do that."
While it'll only be one lane for several thousand feet, it will still create traffic issues. The state says there will more than likely be restrictions during the 14 months of lane closures where alternate routes will be preferred. The routing system for oversized loads will be US 190, but if they are too tall those loads will use the Sunshine Bridge. Loads coming from the New Orleans area will use I-130.
You can go to i10br.com to get information on the project and the locations for lane changes and lane reductions.
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