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Advocate file photo of traffic moving along College Drive at I-10. 

A key legislative panel Monday signed off on initial plans to build a $30 million flyover to College Drive from Interstate 10 west.

The work will be done using a process called design/build, which employs a team of highway designers and builders in one step to speed construction.

Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said the process will allow work to be finished in 2023 rather than 2026.

The proposal was approved by the joint House-Senate transportation committees.

The spending is part of a $380 million plan to widen I-10 from the "new" Mississippi River bridge to the I-10/12 split.

The College Drive project and preliminary work around Acadian Thruway are among the first segments of the widening plan.

Motorists on I-10 west  who want to exit at College Drive now have to cross three lanes to do so, including traffic merging onto I-10 from I-12 west.

The addition will allow travelers to rely on the flyover instead, and I-12 motorists will also have easier access to College Drive.

Wilson said little property acquisition will be needed.

Sen. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, praised the project.

"Motorists in the area are desperately wanting improvements," Erdey said.

The $380 million in Baton Rouge work is part of Gov. John Bel Edwards' $650 million package for three major projects, including a new interchange at Loyola Avenue in Kenner.

The work is being financed with federal bonds that will be repaid annually with a portion of federal aid for roads and bridges.

The third project is aimed at improving access to Barksdale Air Force Base from I-20 near Shreveport.

The Loyola project will also be done using the design/build method.


Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.