First comment, I think that doing this project with the widening costing $360,000,000 is a waste of money and a waste of time. First reason, in about two or three years after completion, it will be just as congested. It’ll be just as bad as it is now, different way, different manner, but the way the city is growing and the way traffic is growing, that’s my opinion. I think a longer range plan would be better served if we built a new bridge with connections from the west side I-10 to the east side going south of the city connecting to I-10 and I-12 and the east side of East Baton Rouge — the east side past East Baton Rouge. he project that you’re talking about now is scheduled to cost, estimated cost $360,000,000. A new bridge was said to be $500,000,000. For $140,000,000, let’s do something right. Let’s do it so that it will not be outdated in a few years.
And I would suggest also a possible way of financing this. I suggest that the State, the Federal government, or whoever, enters into a private/public partnership with trucking firms, giving trucking firms the — asking the trucking firms to help finance a major portion of this project and giving them first option on what is the final construction. That is, they would have the road to use as more or less their own with no toll fees. They would then — you could also have some private ownership company — if cars want to go through, charge toll fees to help pay. The reason for suggesting that is to help the truckers save money and time, prevent accidents that cause them money and cause harms, and also will provide them with a quick way to not have to go through Baton Rouge unless they’re delivering there. I think also that it will provide a saving of money because they will be on time. They also will not have to pay for a lot of accidents that they’re having to deal with now or destruction of what they’re carrying.
For the people, it would be a good option because it allows us to decongest Interstate 10 through Baton Rouge. And it will also allow those who want to, to take the route with the truckers, if that’s what they want to do. And I think it’s a better and a longer range plan.
I’ve suggested this before. And I think a public/private partnership would be a better deal and the new bridge will also provide us to clear the congestion within the city, at least of truckers, and take a longer time before we all get congested again.
I believe that is pretty much what I want to say.
Thank you for your comments. DOTD is in the process of studying additional Mississippi River crossings to assist in the alleviating the traffic congestion; however, a new bridge is years away from approval and construction. The proposed project allows for additional capacity to be added in the near term with minimal right-of-way acquisition and environmental impact; it is part of a larger vision to reduce congestion and improve travel time on I-10 through the Baton Rouge area.