To the attention of US DOT, FHA, and LA-DOTD:
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber – serving as the regional economic development organization for a nine parish region with a population of 850,000, and representing 1,500 investor businesses throughout the capital region – strongly supports this project as a signature urban infrastructure redevelopment. The widening of I-10 will provide much-needed traffic relief to the state’s worst traffic chokepoint, which has severely impacted quality of life and economic activity in the Capital Region. In annual surveys of regional businesses, traffic or transportation infrastructure has been rated as the top obstacle to business for many years. While this project does not solve all of the region’s traffic woes, it is a critical piece of the solution that will create greater workforce mobility and effective movement of people and goods through Louisiana’s second largest metro area. At the same time, the project creates the opportunity for significant quality of life improvements in the neighborhoods directly impacted by construction, such as the Perkins Overpass and LSU Lakes communities. Through deep public engagement and thoughtful, context sensitive solutions, the project team must ensure that residents and businesses of impacted areas see mitigation of construction impact wherever possible, and long-term improvements made to the built environment through improved connectivity, infrastructure design, and drainage. Smart planning concepts must be applied to the design and construction of this kind of major urban throughway, including sensitivity to the way redesign of interchanges impact the surface street network, in particular the Acadian exit and Perkins Road. On behalf of our board and the 1,500 business owners that make up our membership, we commend DOTD on their public engagement thus far, and look forward to continuing that engagement as the project moves into its next phase.
Thank you for your comments. Context sensitive designs presented for comment during the public meetings will be refined for inclusion in the project design and included in the Environmental Assessment.