St. Tammany I-12 widening projects slightly delayed, as more roadwork projects are set to begin
DOTD broke ground on St. Tammany expansion in October 2020
ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WVUE) - A spokesperson for Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development said interstate construction on phase two of the I-12 expansion project is delayed after contractors experienced challenges with bridge work.
“The second phase which goes over the Tchefuncte River is experiencing delays,” said DOTD spokesperson Chris Welty. “The contractor had issues with driving massive, 54-inch pilings into the river.”
This phase of the project is now expected to be completed by the end of summer 2023.
Welty said workers have made progress on other elements of the project, such as a concrete median wall and creating the additional lanes.
But more projects are slated to begin in St. Tammany Parish, specifically near Covington, within the coming months.
Parish leaders say the roughly $113.6 million project to expand I-12 should improve the infrastructure in St. Tammany, and ensure driver safety on the new and improved roads.
“Our parish continues to grow, which means more traffic, but it means more transportation projects are underway,” said Parish president Mike Cooper. “It’s great to see our money coming back to St. Tammany Parish. We provide so much to Baton Rouge and Washington D.C. I’m glad to see that money coming back.”
As a new school year is set to begin Monday (Aug. 8), St. Tammany leaders expect more drivers on the road.
“We ask our citizens to please be patient as they begin to get off to school with their kids,” said Cooper. “Watch for detour signs to minimize your inconvenience.”
For now, drivers will have to deal with the ongoing construction, which began nearly two years ago.
“It’s being done in two different phases. The first phase we are to see it complete by the end of the year,” said Welty.
The third phase of the I-12 project includes expansion from LA 21 to LA 1077. Welty said bids for this portion of the project will go out at the end of 2022.
“We’ve got local road projects, and even bridges. Bridge replacements that were long overdue but we’re replacing these bridges for the safety and convenience of our citizens,” said Cooper.
Other plans include traffic mitigation measures for LA 22 in Madisonville -- another highway experiencing heavy traffic congestion. That project could start as soon as December, according to DOTD.
“We got plans for improving traffic on Highway 22, with the addition of roundabouts at Perriloux Road and Highway 1085,” said Cooper.
In Covington, the Bogue Falaya overpass has caused traffic congestion for decades. Relief is on the way in the form of a new four-lane bridge that will cost about $32 million in state and federal funding.
DOTD said work crews are starting to clear land for the Hwy 190 bridge project and will officially break ground in the coming weeks.
Welty said at this time there is no plan to build a new LA 22 bridge over the Tchefuncte River.
“The (Madisonville) bridge is 42 years old,” he said. “But, by comparison, it is one of the newer movable bridges in the LA DOTD District 62 region, which covers six parishes.”
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