LAKE CHARLES, La. – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Sherri H. LeBas was joined by state and local officials to kickoff construction for the Cove Lane project in Calcasieu Parish.
Addressing congestion along I-210 in the Cove Lane and Nelson Road area was considered one of the highest priorities in the 2007 I-210 Corridor Study.
The project consists of three phases, which will cost a total of $80 million.The construction of Cove Lane is the first of three phases that will take place over the next few years to address congestion along I-210 in the Cove Lane and Nelson Road areas.
"Since taking office in January 2008, the Jindal administration has invested an unprecedented $5.5 billion on projects to improve our state’s infrastructure," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "It’s critical that we continue to make these investments to keep our economy growing. This new interchange will facilitate economic development in this growing area."
The $38.6 million project will construct a full interchange at Cove Lane and I-210. In addition, a roundabout will be built at the intersection of Cove Lane and W. Prien Lake Road, and Cove Lane will be extended north to connect with a new public roadway being built by the casino that will parallel I-210 on the north side of the interstate.
Construction is estimated to begin in mid-October 2013 with an estimated completion date of November 2014.
Since Governor Jindal took office in 2008, $93 million has been invested to improve the I-210 corridor and an additional $487 million has been invested to improve the I-10 corridor statewide.
Serving more than 50,000 motorists a day, I-210 serves as a bypass around Lake Charles and connects to Interstate 10. Interstate 10 is the southernmost interstate highway corridor connecting Houston and New Orleans to Jacksonville, Florida, and Los Angeles, California.
In our local region, I-10 is a major connector between Lake Charles and New Orleans, where it serves a growing area of commercial development, industrial operations and residential communities.
Once complete, the Cove Lane Interchange will provide a direct access of midwest industries to the ports of south Louisiana, enhance the bypass around Lake Charles for traffic on I-210, and a connection between oil industry suppliers and manufacturers from New Orleans to Houston.
The corridor improvements along I-210 will allow for quicker access to local airports and ports, including the Lake Charles Regional Airport, Chennault International Airport, Southland Executive Airport, Lake Charles Port, and West Calcasieu Port.
Other major industries in the area benefiting from this project include Westlake Petrochemicals, PPG Industries, Targa Louisiana Field Services, Basell USA, Inc., Firestone Polymers, Sasol North America, Calcasieu Refining Company, R&R Construction, Cheniere Energy, and Trunkline Gas Company.
"This project will greatly benefit residents and businesses in this area," stated Senator Ronnie Johns. "I appreciate the continued investment on projects to improve infrastructure in Calcasieu Parish."
Senator Dan Morrish said, "I would like to thank Governor Jindal, Secretary LeBas and DOTD for their dedication to improving traffic flow in the Cove Lane-Nelson Road corridor. When completed, this project will provide much better access and far less congestion for the citizens of the Lake Charles area as they experience the economic growth soon to be associated with southwest Louisiana."
Representative Chuck Kleckley added, "This project is another step forward in decreasing traffic congestion on the I-210 corridor."
"I look forward to seeing the benefits this project will bring to Calcasieu Parish," said Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Shannon Spell.
"Today marks the start of construction on a major project that will benefit our area for years to come," added Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. "This project will help to open the door for additional economic development in Lake Charles that will benefit the state and the parish as well."
"I appreciate DOTD working with us to improve access to our port," said Port of Lake Charles General Counsel Michael Dees. "Providing better access helps to keep our port competitive with the rest of the country."
"This road extension, once complete, will immediately provide easier travel and access for the more than two million guests who visit our property and Southwest Louisiana each year," said Keith W. Henson, senior vice president and general manager of L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles. "It is a critical link to expanding tourism in the region and providing new economic benefits for Calcasieu Parish."
Executive Director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shelley Johnson said, "The new interchange at Cove Lane will help to reduce traffic congestion by giving over 50,000 motorists in this growing area of Lake Charles a direct access point from I-210 to Cove Lane and West Prien Lake Road. The project will enhance the visitor experience with improved access to attractions, restaurants and shopping areas within Calcasieu Parish."