The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) and the city of Baton Rouge are working together to improve the appearance of the interstate soundwalls.
Beginning June 6, approximately 20 inmates from the Dixon Correctional Institute will begin to clear tall grass and brush from the areas around the soundwalls where landscaping has been installed along both sides of I-10 and I-12 in Baton Rouge. The inmate trusty crews will be supervised by correctional officers equipped with radios and telephones.
After the July 4th weekend, the inmates will begin working on phase 2 of the project, which involves installed hardwood mulch on the cleared areas to retain moisture for landscaping, reduce weed growth and ease the mowing of grass.
While DPS&C is donating the inmate labor, the city-parish Department of Public Works is donating tools for the inmates to clear the areas and spread the mulch. DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry noted that the arrangement is saving the state more than $60,000 in labor and equipment costs.
“This smart use of public funds reflects what taxpayers expect from their public officials,” Bradberry said. “We’re providing an important beautification service along these soundwalls, and we’re doing it by taking advantage of all of our resources.”
Dixon Warden James M. LeBlanc noted that DOTD and DPS&C have teamed up in the past for the statewide litter campaign, “Project Clean-Up.”
“This collaboration is another great example of Governor Blanco’s commitment of having state agencies working together for the public good,” Warden LeBlanc said.