17 September 2008

Slidell: I-10 Exit 265 almost done...

Times-Picayune - New I-10 interchange at Fremaux Ave. in Slidell nearly ready

This was one of the places me, Froggie, H.B. and a few others visited the weekend before Gustav hit. It's a nearly-complete interchange along I-10 in Slidell meant to connect it directly to Business US 190. It's a standard diamond, with auxiliary lanes on the northern side along I-10 running to Exit 266 (US 190, a.k.a. Gause Boulevard).

Structurally, the interchange itself could be used now. Many final touches like fencing, however, are not done yet. Striping on half of the new Business 190 roadbed wasn't started at the time of our stop. Also, no signage is up at the interchange yet.

The interchange was supposed to be done a few months ago, but weather kept delaying it... and then the hurricanes came, pushing it back some more. Normally, all this delay would give me lots of reason to rake LaDoTD and the James Construction Group, who's contracted to do the work, over the proverbial coals, but let's face it. The whole state's gone through a trauma the past couple of weeks. I don't excuse them for the earlier delays. There's other contractors out there that get lots of work building and repairing our roads, and they get the work done lightning-fast. However, since the storms, what's more important?

It'd be nice to get this interchange finished and all, since it should have been done already. Thing is, there are more important things to worry about now, things that will likely require pulling in resources from elsewhere.

Screw the contracts. We've got new priorities now. Suddenly that elevated LA 1 project seems like something we need to get finished yesterday. Getting the new Twin Spans ready to handle traffic is another thing that needs to be on the fastest track possible, in case another storm sweeps in and cripples the old Spans beyond repair in the meantime. Another thing we need to look at is adding lanes to some of our most-used evacuation routes, either in a temporary or permanent capacity. Not to mention non-highway related necessities like modernizing our power grids and restoring our coastline. Let's get them done first, and let's not bitch about things that suddenly don't seem so important anymore.

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