Pecue interchange options weighed _lowres


Engineers are moving forward with the Pecue Lane/Interstate 10 Interchange project by addressing alternatives not previously studied when the project was first introduced to the public in fall 2010.

Project engineers are now studying a relatively new interchange configuration that could potentially reduce the project’s impact to the area and reduce cost of the project, said DPW Deputy Director Bryan K. Harmon.

The Pecue Lane/I-10 project will provide additional access to I-10 and accommodate increased traffic in the area.

Harmon said the agency is executing supplemental agreements to the original contract to both the environmental and design consultants. These supplements, he said, will address the new interchange configuration called Diverging Diamond Interchange.

“The original scope was set up to address four alternatives, two variations of a diamond interchange, a no-build option, and an alternative that came out of the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) development process,” Harmon said.

The DDI potentially reduces the number of lanes in the overpass thus reducing environmental impacts, right of way impacts, and construction costs, Harmon said.

Last month, the Metro Council voted to contract with design consultant Shread-Kuyrkendall & Associates, Inc., for services not to exceed $123,659, and to contract with Providence Engineering and Environmental Group LLC, for services not to exceed $67,726.

Shread-Kuyrkendall & Associates will develop plans and details, traffic modeling and cost estimates, Harmon said. The chief environmental consultant, Providence Engineering and Environmental Group LLC, and Environmental, and other subcontractors, will address items that are required as part of the Federal NEPA Environmental Assessment process, including air quality impacts, noise analysis, wetlands, property impacts, Harmon said.

Currently the project is being funded by federal, state and local funds and must follow federal requirements, he said.

To date, $2.93 million has been allocated for the engineering work and $487,000 for the environmental studies, Harmon said.

Agencies working on the project include the Federal Highway Administration, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the East Baton Rouge City/Parish and Green Light Plan.

The project has been in the works for almost nine years, and is expected to cost $40 million to $60 million, Harmon said.