Posted: Dec 16, 2009 1:49 PM by Release from the Governor's office
ALEXANDRIA - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal marked the groundbreaking for the widening of the final segment of La. 28 from the Vernon Parish line to La. 121 in Rapides Parish, which he called a critical corridor for Central Louisiana, Ft.Polk and the country's national security efforts.
Governor Jindal said, "This road is not only a critical corridor for the people of Central Louisiana, but also our nation's military. Indeed, the completion of the La. 28 widening project will help reduce congestion, better secure Ft.Polk's standing in Louisiana, enhance the country's national security efforts and boost economic development. This investment represents our strong support of Ft.Polk as well as our commitment to keep moving Louisiana forward."
This final segment is 8.7 miles and represents a $26.8 million investment that will complete the entire 47.7 mile project, which will widen the La. 8-La. 28 corridor from two to four lanes from Leesville to Alexandria. The project will take approximately two years to complete. Governor Jindal worked with the Legislature to invest $23 million in 2008 surplus funds which makes up part of the $26.8 million total.
Governor Jindal emphasized that the completion of the La. 28 widening project will benefit Central Louisiana in four ways.
First, Governor Jindal said La. 28 is critical for the security of the country. He noted that La. 28 provides people coming from Ft.Polk with access to Alexandria - and more specifically - AlexandriaInternationalAirport, which provides airlifts for Ft.Polk troops, supplies, and equipment. The Governor said the widened corridor will allow quicker access to AlexandriaInternationalAirport that Ft.Polk needs to deploy troops, supplies and equipment abroad.
Second, Governor Jindal said the widened corridor will reduce congestion for drivers. He noted that drivers are often delayed on La. 28 because part of the corridor only has two-lanes leaving them in miles of delays from Alexandria to Leesville and Ft.Polk.
Third, the Governor said that widening La. 28 more definitively secures Ft.Polk's place in Louisiana. He said the completion of this project is critical to helping ensure that Ft.Polk survives any future actions by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) because it will enable Ft.Polk to compete on a national scale with other bases.
Fourth, the Governor highlighted that the completion of the La. 28 widening project will help speed up the flow of commerce in Central Louisiana which will spur business growth in the region.
Work on the first segment began in 1995 and thus far, four segments have been completed. Two segments are currently under construction, including the widening of 8 miles from La. 121 to La. 465, which is scheduled to be completed in May 2010, and a 6-mile widening project from 1.8 miles west of La. 465 to the Rapides Parish line, which is scheduled to be completed in March 2010 and Governor Jindal helped fund with $3.46 million from the Transportation Trust Fund.
For the final 8.7 mile segment, clearing and grubbing is scheduled to begin this week, and construction is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2010. This puts the final segment on schedule to be completed by 2012.