Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction for the I-10/ Loyola Drive Interchange Project in Kenner. State and local officials were in attendance for the ceremony on the new airport access road.
“We made this project a priority from the very beginning of my administration, and I am proud that we stand here today delivering on that promise to our citizens,” said Gov. Edwards. "This is an example of what can be done when a project is prioritized, funding is made available and there is collaboration with state, local and federal partners for a common goal."
This $125.6 million project will improve traffic flow at the intersection of Loyola Drive and I-10 by utilizing a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), which eliminates the needs for a left turn signal at the intersection. Additionally, the project will reconfigure the elevated on and off ramps from New Orleans to a single structure in the median of Airport Access Road, south of Veterans Blvd., and provide aesthetic enhancements that would be a first for the region that include color, creative lighting, and landscaping.
"This project has been on the books for years, but we didn’t have a plan, design or environmental clearance. In 2018, we announced that we were moving forward. With innovative funding, a willing local government and a governor who invests in infrastructure, we are able to be here today. What makes this project unique is the Diverging Diamond Interchange that will be incorporated in the new configuration of Veterans Blvd. This is one of two that construction will begin on this year. Not only is this a safe and efficient option, it will also reduce costs and impact of the existing infrastructure,” said Secretary Wilson.
“The I-10/Loyola Drive Interchange Project represents the progress we need to make necessary improvements to infrastructure for area commuters,” said Congressman Cedric Richmond. “Residents and visitors alike can now look forward to a more modern and secure interchange with enhanced ease of routine transportation. I’m glad I was able to assist in this project by helping secure federal funds in order for this important venture to see fruition.”
This project will be integrated into the entrance for the airport’s new North Terminal. In order to accommodate the traffic demands from the airport expansion, a four lane divided highway was built to connect motorists from Loyola Drive to the new terminal. This $6.8 million project, which began January 2018, was completed in advance of the earlier anticipated opening.
The I-10/ Loyola Drive Interchange project is part of four priority projects that will be constructed using GARVEE bonds, special bonds that will be repaid over 12 years using federal funds allocated to Louisiana. Other projects that are utilizing these bonds include the widening of I-10 in Baton Rouge, the Barksdale Air Force Base-I-220- entrance in Bossier City and the Belle Chasse bridge and tunnel replacement.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2020, with an estimated completion time of late 2022.