RAYVILLE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal was joined by Dept. of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri H. Lebas and state and local officials to announce approximately $6.2 million in I-20 overlay improvements and he also highlighted his administration’s more than $27.1 million investment to improve the transportation infrastructure in Richland Parish.
Governor Jindal said, “Investing in the infrastructure of North Louisiana has been a top priority of my administration. Today, we’re highlighting $6.2 million in I-20 overlay projects that will improve safety for motorists in this region and further boost economic growth in North Louisiana. I-20 is a critical corridor that gives businesses and families access to our ports, waterways, airports and railroads. Since taking office in 2008, we’ve made transportation and infrastructure projects a top priority by investing $3.9 billion in road projects, even while working to make government smaller all across the state.”
One of the investments Governor Jindal highlighted today is a $3.5 million project to resurface 3.9 miles of I-20 from Holly Ridge to Dunn. This project will improve the quality of the interstate, making I-20 a better and safer commute for residents, businesses and travelers. Secondly, Governor Jindal said DOTD recently accepted bids on a $2.7 million project to overlay 3.7 miles of I-20 from the Bee Bayou Bridge to Holly Ridge in Rayville. The Governor said these two road projects are part of a $97.7 million total investment in I-20 made over the last three and a half years.
These 7.6 miles of overlay improvements are estimated to be complete by the summer of 2012. Resurfacing the I-20 east-west corridor will create a safer, smoother flow of traffic for the more than 17,600 people who travel this area each day.
DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas said, “We are excited to announce construction on I-20 in Rayville. The preservation of our highway system is of the utmost importance to our communities and economy. Resurfacing this stretch of I-20 will improve the safety and ride-ability of for this vital corridor.”
Interstate 20 is a major east-west freight artery across the country connecting north Louisiana to Dallas and Atlanta and serves as an essential connector, allowing industries access to Louisiana ports, waterways, railroads and airports. Specifically, I-20 is an important link to the Monroe Regional Airport, which serves over 100,000 passengers a year. It also links the area to three general aviation airports in Rayville, Delhi and Winnsboro. The airports support vital agricultural aviation operations, which include crop dusting farms and timber forests in the region.
Interstate 20 also supports major rail operations, such as the Kansas City Southern Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.
· The KCS Meridian Speedway parallels I-20 connecting Dallas to Meridian, Mississippi, and is a major rail artery connecting the northeast United States to Mexico. The railroad is currently being upgraded, and the expanded route will operate as many as 48 trains a day along this section through Rayville, carrying the equivalent of 100 boxcars every half hour.
· Union Pacific Connects to the KCS in Monroe and operates through Bastrop north of Rayville - providing this area with even more access for moving crops and other goods.
The Governor also highlighted his administration’s total investment of $27.1 million in transportation funding in Richland Parish.
In Richland Parish, DOTD already completed a $2.6 million project to resurface a 3.5-mile stretch of La. 3048 from Greer Road to Burke Road. It was a continuation of a previous project on La. 3048 from just south of I-20 to La. 584. Work on the road began in October 2009 and was completed in March 2010. DOTD also recently completed patching a one-mile stretch of U.S. 425 with concrete. The $1.4 million project improved Julia Street from the I-20 eastbound off-ramp to Fragala Street. The project was designed to make this stretch of U.S. 425 smoother. Work on the road began in November 2009 and finished in July 2010.
State Senator Neil Riser, District 32, said, “Improving I-20 is a significant step forward for this community and for the state of Louisiana. I-20 is an important corridor, and I am pleased that these projects will create better access for the residents, travelers and businesses who use this route.”
State Senator Francis Thompson, District 34, said “The safety of motorists is a major priority for Louisiana. I welcome these upcoming projects as they will improve safety and travel on this segment of I-20.”
Representative Charles “Bubba” Chaney, District 19, said “We appreciate the Governor's support of projects that will improve travel on major interstate routes. Creating a safe and efficient corridor is good for industry, families and the state.”
Richland Parish Police Jury President said, “We are thankful for the Jindal Administration’s commitment to improving infrastructure in Richland Parish and look forward to future projects that will enhance transportation in our parish.”
Rayville Mayor Harry “Kayo” Lewis said, “Resurfacing I-20 is an essential improvement for our town as well as the northeast region. It will improve the quality of life for residents and commuters and help to spur economic growth.”