Bill offered by state Sen. Rick Ward (R-Maringouin) would form a commission to try to come up with the means to build a bridge south of Baton Rouge to ease traffic pressure on I-10 bridge.
Iberville Parish President Mitchell Ourso has been pushing for a bridge somewhere south of Baton Rouge to ease traffic for years and a bill recently introduced by Sen. Rick Ward (R-Maringouin) could make that dream a reality.
Ward’s bill calls for the formation of a commission to work on a plan to finance the construction and its location. Voters in five parishes will have to approve the creation of the commission – Iberville, East and West Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension.
The commission would be responsible for finding the funding needed – and there are numerous options – and any tax or toll proposed by the group would have to be voted on by the residents of those five parishes.
The state Senate has already passed the proposal and Ward said it would be considered by the House of Representatives Tuesday, after the Post South deadline. If it is approved by the state’s representatives, it would be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature and then be placed on a future ballot.
The need for another bridge has existed for decades, Ourso said, and as industries continue to expand or construct new plants in Iberville Parish, the problem has escalated since the mid-2000s.
“In the early 2000s, traffic really wasn’t too bad,” he said, but with the construction of Shintech south of Plaquemine and the population distribution created by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, traffic “has been a constant issue over the last 12, 13 years.”
“I think the push for a new bridge only started in the mid-2000s,” Ourso said. “But we’ve been blessed here in the greater Baton Rouge area with a good economy,” putting even more traffic on La. 1 and I-10. “I think that after ’05, if I had to pinpoint it, is when we started having a boom in our industry,” he said, and traffic has only gotten worse since then creating what he considers to be the necessity for a new bridge, according to Ourso.
“I think that after ’05, if I had to pinpoint it, is when we started having a boom in our industry,” he said, and traffic has only gotten worse since then creating what he considers to be the necessity for a new bridge, according to Ourso.
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by Tommy Comeaux at the Plaquemine Post South