Legislators discuss Interstate 20 expansion in Ouachita Parish
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The twin cities may soon be able to say goodbye to some of their traffic woes. Transportations and highway officials met on December 1st in Monroe, and among the topics they discussed was an expansion of Interstate 20.
At a hearing of the Joint Committe on Transportation, Highways, and Public Works, West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell pleaded with officials to make the proposal a reality.
“As far as moving traffic and getting people to and from and between the twin cities, over the Ouachita River, it would make a tremendous difference,” explained Mayor Mitchell.
The plan would add a lane in each direction from Exit 115 (Stella Street) and Exit 112 (Well Road).
State Representative Patricia Moore, who is a member of the House Committee, supports the proposal.
“We know infrastructure getting to their destination in a timely manner matters,” Moore told KNOE.
Moore says the twin cities’ status as the center of Northeast Louisiana means people commute to work on the Interstate.
“Monroe and West Monroe are the hubs,” said Representative Moore. “Of course, you have Sterlington growing also. People are driving all through the Ouachita Parish area, so we know it’s going to be beneficial.”
Moore says an easier commute will also incentivize businesses to move to the area.
“For businesses coming to a location, that is the number one thing, one of the number one things they look at, the infrastructure,” Moore explained.
Committee Chairman Patrick McMath says despite the perception that infrastructure dollars only go to South Louisiana, the expansion of Interstate 20 is a top priority.
“I have always said that an investment in infrastructure is an investment in the economy, and that holds true if you are in Southeast Louisiana, Southwest Louisiana, or Northeast/Northwest Louisiana,” explained McMath, who represents parts of St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes.
A DOTD spokesperson says we should know whether the project gets final approval in the next couple of weeks.
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