I-10 widening project to cause major changes starting Tuesday - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

I-10 widening project to cause major changes starting Tuesday

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Metairie, La.- I-10 in Metairie is a roadway many drivers consider indispensable to their daily travels. And in a matter of hours, a major shift will occur, related to the ongoing lane widening project.

"Tuesday night we'll have to drop traffic from I-10 westbound from the three lanes that are currently going through the project down to one lane," said Stephen Heraty, the project engineer.

But the single-laning, from around Causeway and to the Veterans Boulevard exit, will be temporary. Come 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, three lanes will again be open between Clearview Parkway and Veterans - but the commute will look different.

"We got to physically move hundreds of barrier walls from the current location, which are on the inside by the median, and move them to the outside of the project. And also we have to grind up all the existing striping and add new striping," stated Heraty.

He said the Clearview on-ramp to I-10 West will also be closed, as will the Veterans Boulevard off-ramp.

It is all part of a $42 million widening project in Metairie that began in 2011. State transportation department officials said, when the project is completed at the end of the year, there will be five lanes instead of three in both directions for the 162,000 drivers who navigate that section of the interstate in Metairie daily.

"The traveling public will feel much safer, much more comfortable driving through this construction, " said Sherri LeBas, secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development.

Jefferson Parish business leaders said the interstate construction project alone has already helped the economy. And they believe, once the widening project is completed, area businesses will benefit even more.

"All of these widening projects that you've seen around our area are just helping tremendously to get people to come in that might otherwise say, you know, it's just too congested," said Todd Murphy of the Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce.

On Sunday, the ribbon was cut on the now-wider Huey P. Long Bridge, which stretches across the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish.

In Kenner, DOTD officials said construction to improve streets and install wheelchair-accessible sidewalks is nearing completion.

The road improvements are already proving their worth, according to representatives from the business community.

"When you can come in and get through the highest populated parish in the region on a relatively quick basis, it does make a great bit of difference for individuals as well as businesses," said Murphy.

And LeBas says DOTD is in the pre-planning stage for widening I-10 lanes from the Veterans Boulevard exit to Loyola Avenue in Kenner. But there are no federal funds for that work yet.

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