My mechanic says that driving on the shoulder of a highway is not good for your tires, so it is only done in emergencies. But for several months now motorists have been forced to drive on the shoulder of Interstate 10 between Siegen Lane and Highland Road for almost two miles in each direction in a construction zone.

I drive this stretch of highway five days a week and don’t like having to get into the “fast” lane in which motorists drive extremely fast. Any alternate routes besides the interstate are out of the way and also clog up the surface streets.

How long will driving on the shoulder be required for this stretch of I-10? Can’t the road crews find some other alternative than to force traffic onto the shoulder?

Lauren Lee, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said the state has no alternatives to requiring motorists to use the shoulder.

“The original goal of this plan was to keep two lanes of traffic open during heavy traffic periods, and that necessitated the use of the shoulder as a temporary travel lane,” Lee said.

“This is expected to continue through mid-2012,” she said. “However, these shoulders are safe to drive on and should not cause damage to your tires as they are built to interstate standards.”

Stimulus money

Did the state of Louisiana receive any federal stimulus money? If so, how much, how is it being used and why doesn’t the public know about it?

Christina Stephens, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Division of Administration, said state and local agencies, as well as groups, received $5.97 billion in stimulus money through the Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Stephens said the full list of funding is at

Stephens said agencies alerted the media and the public about stimulus funding granted to Louisiana. She said the Jindal administration also publicly talked to legislators about the dollars.

“For the past several years, whenever state finances have been discussed at the Legislature, included in the robust debate has been talk of how stimulus funds were being used in the budget,” Stephens said.

Send questions to Ask The Advocate, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0588; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0297; or email