MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says the city is now fully funded for their Kansas Lane – Garrett Road I-20 Interchange. The project has been in the works for decades.
The City of Monroe's Kansas Lane and Garrett Road I-20 Interchange project is now fully funded. (Source: KNOE)
"And we're very excited about that it will be fully funded,” says Mayor Mayo. “Their money is in capital outlay and the DOTD budget."
Marshall Hill, the Director for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development District 5, says Gov. John Bel Edwards just allocated $25 million for the project this week. The governor gave the money to this project specifically, so DOTD will be paying for it out of their budget.
City Engineer Kim Golden says they had already raised money for the project, and then the governor filled the gap between what they had and the estimated $55 million cost for the project. She says previously the project was estimated to cost around $36 million.
Golden says the project will add 5 roundabouts between the Garrett Road and I-20 exit up to Kansas Lane. She says they’ll also add one overpass over I-20 at the Garrett Road exit so that there will be two lanes in each direction going over the interstate. Golden says there will be another overpass going over the train tracks near Millhaven Road, making it easier to get to the Monroe Regional Airport.
It won’t just be easier to get to the airport. Mayor Mayo says it will make it much easier for out-of-town visitors to get to Pecanland Mall from the interstate.
"Because we know that there's quite a bit of congestion in that particular area,” says Mayor Mayo. “That is the largest shopping center in northeast Louisiana.”
She says the money will go towards moving utilities and purchasing the right-of-way along Garrett Road, Millhaven Road, and Kansas Lane.
"We actually had a meeting last week - what they call a plan in hand - which is where we had the 95% complete preliminary plans in our hands,” says Golden. “And everybody around the table was looking at them and then we actually went out to the site."
They expect the final plans to be done in October, and then Golden says they’ll start purchasing the right of way and relocating utilities. She says they’ll start getting bids for the project in 2021.
Officials do say that there will be growing pains once the construction starts.
"So the interstate is not going to be closed,” says Golden. “The interstate traffic will be fully maintained throughout the duration of the project. The way they do that though is they divert them off of the interstate on to the ramps and then back on to the interstate."