The city-parish is unveiling new turning lanes from Essen Lane to Interstate 10 that are expected to ease traffic snarls.
City-parish officials will hold a ribbon-cutting Thursday for two additional turning lanes onto I-10 that will allow dual left turns for both southbound and northbound Essen Lane. More than 55,000 motorists travel Essen daily.
Essen Lane had one entrance and exit ramp for I-10. This project added another on- and off-ramp, and workers installed new signals at those locations.
The improvements were part of the city-parish’s Green Light Plan. The construction cost $2.1 million, paid for by local tax dollars.
It’s taken less than a year to complete the construction on the first phase of improvements to Essen. More changes are on the way.
The state’s Department of Transportation and Development is overseeing the addition of another northbound lane on Essen, which will make Essen into a six-lane roadway with a continuous center turning lane.
Construction on the additional lane has not started. DOTD is moving utilities, and construction will begin once the utility work finishes.
The additional lane should stretch about 1 mile from Perkins Road to I-10. Previous projections estimated that construction could finish by winter 2018.
Overall, the road construction is expected to cost more than $14 million.
“When DOTD finishes their portion, Essen will be complete,” said Green Light Plan Program Manager Jonathan Charbonnet.