The Baton Rouge area could get the biggest reduction in traffic congestion with a new bridge over the Mississippi River and increased use of the old bridge, according to a new report from a coalition of business groups.

Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions found that multiple projects will be needed to cut congestion. In addition to the bridge work, the group found the best benefit/cost project involve improving the commute to Ascension Parish and adding a lane in both directions of Interstate 10 through Baton Rouge.

The group also said tolls as part of a part of broader funding strategy for major infrastructure projects. Project tolling revenue projections range from 25 percent to 60 percent of project costs.

The group was formed because the Capital Region’s transportation infrastructure situation is uniquely dire among Louisiana’s metro areas. Baton Rouge ranks third worst among nation’s mid-sized cities for traffic congestion and 11th worst for road conditions.

The needed projects and their cost include:

  • I-10 Widening Through Baton Rouge, around $350 million
  • Ascension Commuter Route , I-10 or Airline Highway, $125 million to $180 million
  • New Mississippi River crossing south of I-10 Bridge, and widening La. 30. The untolled cost range is $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion; with tolls the cost range is $830 million to $1.33 billion.