Widening Interstate 10 is the wrong solution for an old problem. For more than 50 years, Baton Rouge has endured two unforgivable interstate design flaws. The East Baton Rouge Parish Chamber of Commerce sponsored simple solutions, replacing the Washington Street exit with a Terrace Street exit. State DOTD plans are complete and ready for bid with a project budget is $20 million. The other simple solution is extending the Perkins and Acadian on-ramps by 250 feet. The budget would be under $20 million.
These two design flaws are the obvious reasons I-10 fails daily east of the Mississippi River. In essence, they are “red lights” on the interstate.
Instead of moving forward with these common-sense, easy-to-implement-solutions costing less than $ 40 million, the controversial widening from three to four lanes and costing $350 million was once again proposed. Why ignore well-done national cost-benefit analysis, such as that done in "Interstate 10 Widening, Baton Rouge Corridor Public Awareness Study (2000)"? This widening proposal will virtually eliminate for at least 10 years all other important projects like widening Airline Highway from four to six lanes from Plank to Florida ($26 million) and from Cedarcrest to Highland. ($34 million).
Spending $60 million to double the capacity of Airline is just one of the many simple-to-fix traffic solutions wasted for 10 years now because we will have mortgaged our life away with what we feel is an unnecessary $350 million widening project.
Change the interstate spark plugs, not the engine.
Coleman D. Brown
EBR Parish Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure Committee Chairman