DOTD, James Construction sign agreement to finish Picardy project by December 2006
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and James Construction Group LLC (JCG) have reached an agreement that will enable the I-10/Picardy Avenue Interchange project between Bluebonnet and Siegen to be completed by
Construction on the project, which will accommodate traffic to retail shopping areas on Bluebonnet and Siegen, was temporarily suspended in part in June 2005 when DOTD engineers discovered settling problems with the Picardy South retaining wall that was to support an approach ramp to an I-10 overpass. Since then, the wall was deconstructed to 12 feet, and work on the Picardy North wall was halted. Stability berms have been added to both walls, the internal design has been re-engineered, and rebuilding of the Picardy South wall soon will be under way.
DOTD and the Baton Rouge-based general contractor have agreed to split the extra cost of mitigation associated with construction problems, including the Picardy retaining walls, and release each other from claims relative to those walls. However, DOTD reserves the right to seek damages from third parties.
DOTD Chief Engineer Bill Temple cited several reasons for the agency to enter the agreement with James Construction:
- First, a DOTD investigation has determined that errors in the original wall design and construction — which resulted in additional work and, therefore, lost time—are attributable to third parties.
- Secondly, both James and DOTD are committed to ensuring that the project will be completed safely and in time for the 2006 holiday shopping season.
- Thirdly, Hurricane Katrina has caused a significant traffic increase in Baton Rouge, and completing the Picardy project is expected to contribute to congestion relief.
James Construction Group Senior Vice President Danny Hester said, “JCG has a long working relationship with the Louisiana DOTD and is proud to participate in this agreement, which is a key step toward improving traveling conditions for the city’s and Baton Rouge area’s motoring public.”
As part of the agreement to regain lost time, DOTD has agreed to split the estimated additional $2.01 million it will take for James to immediately place additional resources on the job to meet the Dec. 1 deadline. While DOTD will split the additional costs, the agency is retaining its rights to recover that money from other parties.
The project involves four major elements of construction: an additional eastbound and westbound lane of I-10; two one-way frontage roads on both sides of the interstate; new ramps connecting I-10 to the frontage roads; and an I-10 crossover that will serve as the main entrance to the Mall of Louisiana.
When the project is finished, drivers on Bluebonnet who want to get to Siegen can avoid I-10 by using the eastbound service road. The interstate on-ramps also will be accessed from the service roads on both sides.
The Picardy overpass between Bluebonnet and Siegen will tie into the back of the Mall of Louisiana and Picardy Avenue Extension. Drivers will be able to get to the Picardy overpass and Picardy Avenue using the eastbound frontage road.