HAMMOND – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal marked the completion of the final segment of a $79.3 million investment to resurface 31 miles of I-55 from Hammond to the Mississippi state line. A $31.4 million project, the final segment included resurfacing 12.3 miles of I-55 from U.S. 51 in Hammond to La. 40 in Independence.
Governor Jindal said, "My number one priority as Governor is creating an environment where businesses want to invest and create jobs – and that means investing in and improving our roads. In the past, when folks from out of state came to Louisiana on I-55 they were greeted with rough roads, but now we’re changing that. Improving I-55 and all of our roads is yet another example of how we can show the world that we’re turning around our state and moving from the bad lists to the good lists. Today is a great day for Tangipahoa Parish and our entire state, but we’ve got more work to do and we will continue making our roads a priority so that our families have safe roads to travel and businesses have the fastest route possible to move their products."
The 12.3-mile segment is used by roughly 30,000 drivers each day. The 31-mile resurfacing project included three other projects totaling around $48 million These three projects resurfaced more than 18.9 miles of I-55. The projects included a $15.8 million project that resurfaced 5.3 miles of I-55 between the Mississippi state line and La. 1049, a $17.5 million project that resurfaced 7.3 miles of I-55 between La. 16 and La. 10, and a $14.6 million project to resurface 6.3 miles of I-55 between La. 40 and La. 16.
In 2010, I-55 was ranked as the worst roadway in the country by Readers Digest. With the completion of resurfacing 31 miles of this interstate, it will be ranked as one of the best roadways in the nation on future lists.
"I’d like to thank Governor Jindal and the Legislature for their commitment to improving I-55 in our state," DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas said. "The new, resurfaced roadway will greatly help to improve travel for the more than 30,000 motorists who utilize I-55 each day."
Since taking office, Governor Jindal has invested more than $4 billion to improve Louisiana’s transportation system, including more $130 million alone for projects in Tangipahoa Parish.
The Governor also highlighted other major investments in the region, including:
- $6.6 million to renovate the Kentwood rest area, which serves traffic in the southbound direction of I-55 in Tangipahoa Parish. Renovations include constructing additional restroom facilities, creating a larger parking lot for cars and 18-wheelers, landscaping and adding picnic shelters for the traveling public. Work began on the project in September and is expected to be finished in May of next year.
- $10.5 million to resurface 12.7 miles of I-12 from U.S. 51 to the St. Tammany Parish line. The project is expected to start this month and be finished by spring of next year.
Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said, "We are thankful for the Jindal Administration’s commitment to improving infrastructure in Tangipahoa Parish and look forward to future projects that will enhance transportation in our area."
State Representative Stephen E. Pugh, District 73, said, "I-55 is the welcome mat of Louisiana. Thanks to Governor Jindal, after many years, it is now a true ‘welcome’ mat."
Larry Terrell, Past-President and Board Member for The Louisiana Motor Transport Association and trucker with Northlake Moving and Storage of Covington, LA, said, "We have seen an unbelievable improvement to I-55. I’m completely confident that this segment will now come off any worst list across the country. Previously it was like riding a bucking bull to the state line and now it’s slick as glass. The trucking community no longer avoids this segment of highway and it’s safer and easier to move our people and equipment across the state. Overall, we appreciate the state’s efforts – under the Governor’s leadership, things are absolutely moving in the right direction."