Louisiana's DOTD takes a look back at 2012 - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Louisiana's DOTD takes a look back at 2012

Posted: Updated: Jan 9, 2013 01:17 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. – Dept. of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas says it was a very good year.

 Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Sherri H. LeBas announced that the state has invested over $668 million in transportation infrastructure projects in 2012, resulting in 372 projects that helped to improve over 1,000 miles of Louisiana's roadways and 71 bridges.

LeBas said, "DOTD is committed to projects that will preserve our highway system, improve travel, enhance safety, and create economic opportunities throughout the state."

The state continues to prioritize projects along major corridors and has reduced Louisiana's backlog of road and bridge needs by nearly $2 billion. The continued investment has helped to create a safer and more efficient highway system for drivers in Louisiana.

2012 Year in Review

The passage of key legislation to bond the State Highway Improvement Fund (SHIF) revenue stream for non-federal aid routes, combined with the SHIF's regular funds, allowed for the implementation of the Quality Surface Program. This more than $425 million initiative will resurface and repair approximately 1,100 miles of roadways across the state, many in rural areas, which in some cases haven't been touched in over 30 years.

In February, DOTD celebrated an I-49 South milestone with the completion of the U.S. 90 Frontage Roads project from La. 83 to Darnall Road. This $5.4 million, 2.75-mile, project constructed new frontage roads and, in some areas, converted portions of the existing service roads to frontage roads. Additionally, in October, DOTD marked another I-49 South achievement with the completion of the U.S. 90 widening project. This $20 million capacity project widened U.S. 90 from four to six lanes from Pinhook Road to Broussard. The I-49 South project will ultimately convert U.S. 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans into an interstate-quality roadway.

Also in February, construction on the new $409 million John James Audubon Bridge came to a close under the (Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development) TIMED Program. With a 1,583-foot main span, the new bridge is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere, connecting Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes. While the bridge itself is a significant engineering achievement, it is also the first design-build project undertaken by DOTD.

The TIMED Program is the single largest transportation program in state history. The TIMED Program was created by Act 16 of the 1989 Louisiana Legislature and was voted for by the people. The $4.6 billion improvement program includes widening 536 miles of state highways to four lanes on 11 project corridors, widening and/or new construction on three major bridges, and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong International Airport. The program is improving the quality of life for motorists, residents, and businesses by enhancing economic development through an investment in transportation projects.

Also, under the TIMED Program, DOTD announced the completion of one of the final projects in the $936 million initiative to widen the U.S. 165 corridor. The completion of U.S. 425 from Bastrop to Log Cabin project (U.S. 165 becomes U.S. 425 in Bastrop) widened 220 miles of U.S. 165/425 to four lanes from Lake Charles to the Arkansas State line.

In June, DOTD celebrated the completion of the $146 million widening project along I-12, from O'Neal to Juban under the state's $315 million Geaux Wider Program. The widening of this segment provides congestion relief to approximately 85,000 drivers traveling this segment daily and will help to foster and maintain economic growth for new and current businesses along the corridor.

The Geaux Wider program is a multi-year construction initiative designed to increase capacity, improve safety and enhance mobility on Interstates 10 and 12 in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.

In April 2012, DOTD announced the new $90 million Paths to Progress Program to repair, restore and enhance more than 60 roadways in Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

Safety on Louisiana's roadways continues to be a top priority. Through the Destination Zero Deaths initiative, Louisiana has seen a dramatic 32% reduction in traffic fatalities with the unified efforts of the Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Louisiana State Police, and DOTD working in cooperation with local public works departments and local law enforcement.

In the last year, DOTD has been involved in a number of initiatives designed to increase safety on state roadways. These include:

O 2,100 miles of centerline rumble strips to reduce head-on collisions

O 50 new ITS cameras to facilitate better communication among drivers, traffic operations staff and emergency response personnel

O 900 interstate miles of enhanced mile markers to improve emergency response times and help motorists to better report accidents, breakdowns, and other roadway incidents

O More than 80 miles of cable barriers statewide to prevent head-on collisions, including a recently completed project that installed 20 miles on I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Since the Jindal administration took office in January 2008, an unprecedented $4.9 billion has been invested in Louisiana's infrastructure. This includes more than 2,100 projects and approximately 5,000 miles of roadway improvements.

2012 Recognitions

AASHTO Award: DOTD was presented with an "America's Transportation Award" in the "under budget, large project" award category for completing the I-10 Twin Span Bridge under budget.

DBIA Award: In November, DOTD was named winner of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) 2012 Design Excellence Award for the John James Audubon Bridge.

ATSIP Award: DOTD's Safety Highway Administrator Dan Magri received the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP) 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award. Magri was recognized for being instrumental in the creation and subsequent survival of the ATSIP organization.

Be Inspired Award: The Huey P. Long Bridge was named the winner of Bentley Systems Incorporated's 2012 "Be Inspired" Innovation in Bridges award. The projects in this category demonstrate how advanced technology can enhance problem solving at every stage of the project delivery process, from planning, design, and engineering to construction simulation and analysis.

IES/ALC Award: The False River Regional Airport received the 2012 Illuminating Engineering Society/ Aviation Lighting Committee (IES/ALC) Award for Excellence for design and implementation of a solar-powered airfield lighting circuit.

ENR Award: DOTD's John James Audubon Bridge was recently honored with the "Best Transportation Project" award by the Texas/Louisiana Engineering News Record (ENR).

Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award: DOTD District 02 Administrator, Michael J. Stack, was presented with the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award presented by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This award is presented annually to an employee of an AASHTO member department for his or her outstanding contribution to engineering or management.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (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 890 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 dotdcs@la.gov, 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).

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