I-10 work nearly finished

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Looking west Friday afternoon on Interstate 10 from the Bluebonnet Overpass. Work to add more lanes that began in January 2009 will be officially completed Monday. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Looking west Friday afternoon on Interstate 10 from the Bluebonnet Overpass. Work to add more lanes that began in January 2009 will be officially completed Monday.

Completion originally set for 2011

Motorists who use Interstate 10 between the I-10/12 split and Siegen Lane will have an additional lane in each direction starting Monday, state officials said Friday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Monday, the state Department of Transportation and Development announced.

The work began in January 2009.

It was initially set to be finished by late 2011.

But state officials announced that year the work was 10 months behind schedule.

They also replaced the lead contractor, Austin Bridge & Road Inc., with Boh Bros. Construction of New Orleans.

At one time officials thought the $86.2 million project might be finished by the end of 2012, and then by January of this year.

But a variety of delays, including heavy rains last month, pushed back the completion date.

However, officials on Dec. 18 announced that the I-10 exit ramp at Essen Lane for eastbound motorists was open.

The route is the site of near daily backups, especially during morning and afternoon commutes.

About 73,000 drivers use the corridor daily.

The work that will be finished Monday is separate from the expansion of I-10 between Siegen Lane and Highland Road.

That project, which has a $60 million price tag, is set for completion in March or April, DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas said in December.

Boh Bros. is doing that work.

Despite Louisiana’s $12 billion backlog of road and bridge projects, the Baton Rouge area has been the site of several high-profile projects in recent years.

In June the state finished the widening of I-12 between O’Neal Lane and Juban Road, which cost $146 million.

Another project, the widening of I-12 between Juban Road and Walker, is supposed to be finished by mid-2013.

After that a segment of I-12 — exactly how far is unclear — is supposed to be widened from Walker toward Satsuma.