State highway officials permanently shut Dutton Road’s access to La. 73 on Tuesday morning and redirected traffic to a nearby road as part of a $15.5 million widening project of the key highway.

Dustin Annison, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said the change is aimed at controlling access on La. 73 to improve the highway’s traffic flow. La. 73, which the state is widening from two to three lanes, is a key link between Prairieville and Dutchtown.

Dutton formerly joined the west side of La. 73 near a Capitol One Bank and the busy La. 73/Airline Highway intersection.

Annison said traffic turning left from Dutton onto La. 73 often would get stuck in the middle of La. 73, causing backups.

The remaining Dutton Road is still open and can be reached from La. 73 through State Bank Drive, Annison said.

State Bank Drive joins La. 73 several hundred feet farther southwest of Dutton’s and Airline’s intersections with La. 73.

The Dutton access closure is near the northern end of the La. 73 widening project, which extends 2.3 miles southwest to La. 73’s intersection with La. 621 near I-10.

The project is expected to be finished in the second quarter of 2015, DOTD officials have said.