SLIDELL – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal participated in a ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on a project to widen I-12 from four to six lanes in Slidell, widen the I-12 eastbound off-ramp to Northshore Boulevard and add a deceleration lane at the I-12 westbound off-ramp to Airport Road. The ceremony was held at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Administrative Building where the Governor was joined by state and local officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking.
Governor Jindal said, "This critical $25.7 million project is funded with surplus money from 2008 – and builds on our total $220 million investment in I-12 since taking office in 2008. Indeed, because of I-12’s key position as a route for the Northshore, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, it serves as a critical freight corridor for the entire state and as an evacuation route for Louisianians in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. Expanding our state’s infrastructure is important because we must provide a strong foundation to further build on our economic record of successes."
The six mile project will widen I-12 from four to six lanes going from the I-10/I-12/I-59 interchange to just west of the Vincent’s Bayou Bridge. In addition, the I-12 eastbound off-ramp to Northshore Boulevard will be widened from one lane to two lanes, and a deceleration lane will be added at the I-12 westbound off-ramp to Airport Road.
Construction of the $25.7 million project is funded entirely with 2008 surplus funds. To keep traffic moving during construction, four lanes of traffic will remain open during peak travel times and lane closures will only occur at night or on weekends during off-peak travel times. Preconstruction activities, including surveying land, placing stakes in the ground, and driving test piles, began in January 2011. The project, which was awarded to James Construction LLC, is scheduled to be complete in the summer of next year.
DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas said, "We are thankful for Governor Jindal and the Legislature’s commitment to widening I-12 in Slidell. This project will allow for safer, more efficient travel for the 70,000 plus drivers who use this segment each day."
St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis said, "We are very pleased the widening project is underway. This area of St. Tammany is crucial to the business future of our entire parish, and the Northshore corridor relies on quick, convenient transportation. This project will continue to improve both the capacity and speed of traffic through the eastern part of St. Tammany Parish."
Representative Kevin Pearson said, "I’m very glad this project is finally underway. My constituents – and visitors to our community – need safe access. These projects will bring much-needed relief to traffic congestion and long-awaited safety enhancements to reduce accidents and injuries."
Representative Greg Cromer said, "Few state projects have the capacity to positively impact St. Tammany Parish as much as this one. Enhancements to this corridor are good for our economy but they are also vital to public safety. I’m very pleased that DOTD is beginning this work, and look forward to the significant positive impact it will have on the area."
Senator Jack Donahue said, "Improving our infrastructure is important to the continued economic development of the I-12 corridor, which is fast becoming a sustainable and vital economic engine for the state. The convergence of these Interstate highways is already a boon to our region, and improving the interchange will go a long way towards strengthening our community and our economy."
In St. Tammany Parish alone, the Jindal administration has invested $122.2 million in transportation projects since taking office. Statewide, the Governor has announced $3.6 billion in state and federal funds in transportation and road projects.