METAIRIE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announces the completion of the Causeway Interchange improvement project, a two-phase, $87 million endeavor aimed at improving traffic flow and safety in the Greater New Orleans area. Work on the state’s most heavily traveled roadway was completed on April 27. Earlier this year, the last of the new ramps opened to traffic on January 11.
“The completion of this project almost immediately alleviated severe congestion and improved safety for nearly 180,000 daily commuters in the New Orleans metro area,” said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. “Drivers are experiencing as much as a 15-minute decrease in travel time during peak hours [6-8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.].”
According to the latest INRIX report, which measures traffic and congestion nationwide, congestion on I-10 in Jefferson Parish has drastically improved and the interchange dropped from 78th most congested to 124th in the latest report – out of the top 100.
The new interchange provides dedicated ramps for Veterans Boulevard and Causeway Boulevard traffic, and elevated ramps for Causeway Boulevard and I-10 traffic. The improvements will facilitate smoother travel by eliminating the friction that was caused when ground-level Veterans Boulevard traffic accessed I-10.
The interchange project was completed in two phases:
- The $35.6 million Phase I built new ramps from northbound Causeway to westbound I-10; from westbound I-10 to northbound Causeway; from westbound I-10 to Veterans Boulevard; and from northbound Causeway to Veterans Boulevard.
- The $51 million Phase II, a mirror image of Phase I, built elevated eastbound and westbound ramps for southbound Causeway Boulevard drivers accessing I-10. At ground-level, the project constructed separate ramps for the Veterans drivers accessing I-10.
Since taking office in January 2008, Governor Jindal’s administration has been committed to moving Louisiana forward by making transportation a top priority for our state, with an unprecedented investment of over $5 billion in infrastructure improvement projects. Specifically, almost $1 billion has been invested in various I-10 resurfacing and capacity projects in the greater New Orleans area, over $736 million has been spent in construction projects in Jefferson Parish, and a investment of more than $470 million has been made to improve the I-10 corridor, statewide. The state invested $15 million in surplus funds in this capacity project, with the remainder split between federal and state transportation funds.
“The Causeway Interchange is part of a critical corridor that provides a direct benefit to residents of Jefferson Parish and the state as a whole,” said Sen. Conrad Appel. “The FHWA’s investment is proof of that.”
The interchange serves two major routes: 1) Causeway Boulevard, a key north-south route, which leads to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge and 2) Veterans Boulevard, the main street in Metairie, which runs parallel to I-10. Commuters working in areas of the Central Business District (CBD), the Westbank, and Uptown, and employed by entities such as Ochsner Medical Center, LSU Medical Center, and a variety of auto dealerships, will greatly benefit from the improved travel times in their daily commutes.
The two-phase project is the sixth initiative to be completed over the last 16 years to widen I-10 through Jefferson Parish, from Kenner on the west to New Orleans on the east. This section of I-10 is the principal western approach to the New Orleans Metropolitan area with the majority of all traffic entering or departing the city to the west utilizing I-10. It is also the major access route for container, break-bulk and bulk trucking to/from the Port of Orleans.
“Projects such as this equate to so much more than just faster travel times,” said Rep. Joseph Lopinto. “The Causeway serves as an important evacuation route, from east to west, as well as being a primary route for the efficient movement of goods and services.”
The new interchange provides dedicated ramps for Veterans and Causeway traffic, improving access and some movements by as much as 15 minutes per day for commuters working in areas of the CBD, the Westbank, and Uptown, and employed by entities such as Ochsner Medical Center, LSU Medical Center, and a variety of auto dealerships, among others.
“The completion of the Causeway Interchange is a long-awaited and welcome improvement for Jefferson Parish commuters,” said Jefferson Parish President John Young. “The new ramps make access easier and more convenient, and as an added benefit, provide a great economic advantage for the Parish.”
Drivers can look forward to two other area projects aimed at relieving area congestion, which include the soon to be completed widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge and the widening of I-10, from Veterans Boulevard to Clearview Parkway.
Work on the project began in April 2009, and James Construction Group was the contractor for both projects. In 2011, the project was recognized as the Louisiana Transportation Conference Work Zone Excellence Award winner.
DOTD is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 930 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511)