QUESTION: I wonder why no one from the DOTD (or anyone else) ever mentions the completion of Interstate 49 from Lafayette to New Orleans as a solution to our I-10/12 traffic congestion here in Baton Rouge? This would be the fastest solution since it is obviously past the planning/design stage and would be heavily federally funded. This could eliminate many of the big trucks and cars that are headed to and from New Orleans.

ANSWER: Lauren Lee, public information officer with the state Department of Transportation and Development, gives us this simple answer:

“The vast majority of traffic in Baton Rouge, including during peak periods, is local traffic, not through traffic. Further, most of the through traffic comes from I-10 to I-12.

“While the future I-49 South corridor may be a viable option for travelers wishing to bypass Baton Rouge, it will not have a noticeable impact on local traffic congestion during peak hours.”

QUESTION: Speaking of diverting traffic around Baton Rouge, another reader suggests both a west bank expressway and an east bank expressway from Baton Rouge to the Sunshine Bridge would allow vehicles to bypass traffic snarls on I-10 and I-12 in Baton Rouge.

ANSWER: Lee says a Westside Expressway is being considered for inclusion in the Statewide Transportation Plan, which DOTD is in the process of updating.

“This concept includes a new bridge between the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge and the Sunshine Bridge. The estimated cost is approximately $1.7 billion, which includes: $845 million for connector segment, $800 million for new bridge, and $121 million for improvements to La. 3127.

“The new plan will be complete in early fall 2015.”

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