I-10 flyover to MSY delayed until 2023
KENNER (WVUE) - Taxi driver Sukanta Modak says congestion on I-10 heading to Armstrong International Airport is a traffic nightmare right now.
“It’s really hard, especially between rush hour, it’s really hard,” Modak said.
The backups on the interstate and Loyola Drive are blamed on a $125 million flyover project that broke ground back in 2019. When it’s opened, it will easily get commuters to and from the airport, but until then, Modak and other ride-sharers have had to dodge traffic cones, temporary streets and barricades just to continue making their living.
“If you’re stuck in the traffic like that then you are wasting time and time is money,” he said.
Drivers-for-hire aren’t alone with this problem. Kenner residents also deal with the traffic headaches going to and from work, school and errands. Even the mayor Micahel Glaser says he avoids the area when he can.
“I go another route now. I don’t go the Loyola route I go down Williams Blvd,” he said.
The project was originally slated to wrap up in late 2022, but the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says drivers will have to wait until early 2023 before construction is finished.
Officials cite last year’s hurricane season, supply chain issues and this summer’s rains for causing the delay, but they also mention construction crews are doing what they can to catch up.
“There is a lot of work happening at all times of day,” LaDOTD spokesperson Chris Welty said.
Welty says crews are already done with constructing all the columns for the flyover and are pouring concrete through the day and night. Work is also being done putting up sound barriers along the I-10 near Loyola Dr.
Officials say, with project’s current pace, there is no longer a need to shut down the streets for hours at a time to work.
“The interchanges closed for a weekend, that won’t happen anymore,” Glaser said. “We are past that point.”
And while commuters have to wait until sometime next year for the flyover - on the ground, officials say the diverging diamond interchange should be good to go soon.
“That is expected to be complete sometime between late summer, early fall,” Welty said.
Right now, traffic officials are busy putting up signage and sending out educational videos to make sure drivers know how the interchange work. Other states, like Mississippi, have their own diverging diamond interchanges and the one on Loyola Dr. will be the first one in Louisiana.
“It’s going to put the northbound lanes in the current southbound lane under the I-10 overpass. That’s going to be a challenge, getting use to the new traffic flow,” Glaser said.
And in the meantime, drivers like Modak who rely on the intersection for a living can’t wait for the construction to finally wrap up.
“Just do it quick, that’s all I will say,” he said.
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