Congressman Garret Graves meets with coalition to kickstart work on La. 30

Staff Report

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves joined with officials in Gonzales to prioritize substantial improvements along a busy traffic artery that stretches through three parishes along the Eastbank.

The collaboration among elected, community and business leaders pinpoints the work needed for La. 30 along East Baton Rouge, Iberville and Ascension parishes.

U.S. Rep. Garrett Graves

The discussion came on the heels of an announcement last month of three locations the state Department of Transportation and Development identified for the proposed new Mississippi River Bridge, all of which will connect La. 30 to La. 1.

All three sites are in Iberville Parish.

Both highways suffered from terrible traffic congestion well before a proposed bridge that would bring even more vehicles.

“It doesn’t matter where a bridge is built. It must connect La. 30 to La. 1, and we can’t build a bridge just to move one traffic jam on top of another across the river,” Graves said. “These two highways – traveled by tens of thousands of motorists, trucks, and first responders every day – must be ready to meet the demand… yesterday.

“We have urged State leaders for years to embrace a no-regrets strategy of substantially increasing capacity to meet existing demand – and future demand,” he said. “Again, it doesn’t matter where a bridge goes, it is going to touch these highways, and there are no regrets for making investments now to meet present and future demand.”

La. 30 and La. 1 expansions would allow a “new” Mississippi River Bridge project to be integrated into existing infrastructure as quickly as possible.

Thousands of motorists already use the Highway 30 corridor daily, and the consistent growth in the region – between business development and new residents – means the transportation and infrastructure systems must be ready for additional capacity, Graves said.

“Highway 30 has become a parking lot and we can do better than this,” he said. “It’s good to see stakeholders, such as the newly formed ‘Highway 30 Coalition,’ are bringing more attention to the La.30 expansion.

“Improving this corridor will enhance our economic development, access to health care, education opportunities, response time for law enforcement, an evacuation route for hurricanes, and ultimately the safety of our communities – we have to get it right,” Graves said.  “We also have to put funding toward ‘no regret’ projects and strategies, get money out of the bank, and turn dirt. “.

For years, Graves has spoken about necessary short-, mid-and long-term improvements in the Capital Region. Examples:

  • Short-term: Terrace St. Exit, Pecue Lane, Syncing Traffic Lights, etc.
  • Mid-term: Additional Interstate lanes, LA 30 and LA 1 improvements, improving Walker-Gonzales connection, etc.
  • Long-term: Major projects like a “new” Mississippi River bridge and revival of the Baton Rouge Urban Mobility Plan.