MANDEVILLE, La. – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards, alongside Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Eric Kalivoda and state and local officials, celebrated the completion of the first two segments of the $169.8 million project that expands and revitalizes the I-12 corridor through the Northshore.
“I remember when we were here for the groundbreaking of this much-anticipated project in 2020, and it is exciting to see that we have made it to the finish line of the first two phases,” said Gov. Edwards. “This is a major project that will benefit the folks of St. Tammany and everyone who travels throughout this area. Improving Louisiana’s infrastructure statewide has always been among my top priorities, and the widening of I-12, which is among our heavily traveled interstates, is important for businesses, families, visitors and the like. It’s vital for this community as well as our state and is something we can all be proud of.”
Phase one of the project widened three miles of pavement surface from US 190 to LA 59 into the median, overlaying the existing lanes with asphalt, and installing concrete median protection. The project also widened the bridges over US 190, the Ponchatolawa Creek, and the Tammany Trace bike path. Phase one, constructed by James Construction Group, was completed in summer 2023 for $54.5 million.
The majority of funding for phase one, $43.4 million, was secured from redistributed funds, money left over from other federally sourced projects across the country awarded to DOTs that have successfully obligated their federal funding for the fiscal year. St. Tammany Parish provided $8 million; the remaining $2.8 million was sourced through the state.
“Today is an example of the great things the state can do when funding is available,” said Sec. Kalivoda. “Investing in infrastructure is crucial for the future of the state, and no other governor has led the charge on major projects more than Gov. Edwards.”
The project's second phase provided identical reconstruction elements as phase one along 3.4 miles of I-12 from US 190 westward to LA 21. The I-12 and LA 21 interchange area is a hub for new business in St. Tammany and is adjacent to Pinnacle Parkway and the recently constructed Oschner Medical Complex. Phase two, built by JB James Construction, was completed recently at $59.1 million.
“The late Parish President Pat Brister kick-started this multiphase project when she led the way in securing funding for phase one,” said Sen. Patrick McMath. “My legislative colleagues and I are proud to have picked up where President Brister left off by securing the second round of funding that has brought us one step closer to project completion. The widening of I-12 has significantly eased traffic congestion across west St. Tammany, leading to an improved overall quality of life for our residents.”
Funding for phase two was sourced through a $25 million federal BUILD grant obtained by St. Tammany Parish and a $7.2 million commitment from the parish. Federal and state funding comprised the remaining funds.
“The completion of the first two phases of the Interstate 12 expansion has immensely improved our quality of life,” said St. Tammany Parish Pres. Mike Cooper. “Not only are our citizens able to travel more safely, but they are traveling on I-12 and its connecting roads more efficiently. On behalf of all of the citizens of St. Tammany Parish, I thank every person who made this widening a reality.”
The project's third phase, at a cost of $56.1 million, widens I-12 from LA 1077 to LA 21, and is currently under construction by James Construction Group with a 2026 estimated completion date.
Over 90,000 vehicles travel through the project area daily, up from 68,000 in 2012 and 81,500 in 2018. About 90 percent of that traffic continues through toward Hammond or Slidell.
DOTD believes the daily traffic count will grow by as much as 40,000 by 2036. The expansion projects allow for that accommodation.
The three-part I-12 widening project is one of several considerable DOTD infrastructure improvements in the area. Other projects include the $30 million US 190/Collins Bridge project and the three-part construction of a brand new highway, LA 3241, that connects I-12 to the Bush/Sun area.