Gov. John Bel Edwards and other state and local leaders Tuesday morning broke ground on an $87.7 million project to widen Interstate 10 in St. Martin Parish, part of ongoing efforts to improve the interstate across Acadiana.

The work will expand I-10 from four lanes to six lanes between La. 328 in Breaux Bridge to La. 347 near Henderson.

It includes removing two existing I-10 bridges over Melvin Dupuis Road and replacing them at ground level.

A two-lane bridge serving as Melvin Dupuis Road will then be constructed over the interstate.

Also, a 54-inch concrete median barrier will be installed in portions of the 4.5-mile corridor as well as raised markers and rumble strips.

"This is a major freight corridor and connector that serves area residents as well as thousands of out-of-state travelers," Edwards said in a statement. 

"This expansion will not only bolster the region's ability to handle the heavy traffic but will also help grow the economy of this area and the state," he said.

About 70,000 motorist use the corridor daily.

Work is set to begin in November and take three years.

The latest expansion is the third and final phase of work that will provide about 15 miles of new pavement between I-49 and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.

It began in 2017, totals $179 million and is set to be finished next year.

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