Interstate 10 project moving along as planned

Published 10:49 am Monday, June 11, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

Anyone living or visiting Orange is familiar with the traffic back-up that always seems to occur as you cross into Texas from the Louisiana side.

The Texas travel center becomes a familiar sight as you are stuck there looking at it, while wreck after wreck or traffic jam hits right before the Simmons Street exit and beyond. This stretch of Interstate-10 through Orange is notorious for car accidents, seeming to stem from the never-ending construction and narrowing of lanes along that stretch of road.

The Texas Department of Transportation calls this project the Adams Bayou to Sabine River Reconstruct, and it’s a project that has been going on since May of 2014.

Four years later, many are wondering if any progress is being made at all, especially while at a standstill on Interstate-10 staring at that giant metal star.

According to Sarah Dupre, Public Information Officer for the Beaumont district of the Texas Department of Transportation, the project is moving along as planned.

Other than Harvey, “The only delay we’ve had was replacing the water line by the travel center, running under I-10,” Dupre said. “That added some time.”

This $68 million-dollar project is about 53-percent complete, as of May 2018. But the question on everyone’s mind is when will this be done?

According to TxDOT’s website and confirmed by Dupre, the goal is to have that section of Interstate-10 completed by the year 2022.

“Once completed, drivers will be driving on completely new roadways,” Dupre said.

The westbound side of the bridge over 16th Street is completed, leaving the eastbound side, the bridge over business 90, Little Cypress bridge, and a new Meeks Drive turnaround to be completed yet, along with the on-ramps and off-ramps.

Dupre said the project is one of the most massive ones undertaken in this area, and progress is going as it should.

“It’s very hard to put down a timeline on such a large process, but it’s coming along nicely,” Dupre said.

When asked about the weed-choked lot of construction equipment and massive concrete barriers located just under the 16th Street overpass and just before the eastbound on-ramp of Interstate-10 (a location that, to many in Orange, has become an unwanted landmark), she said the contractor on this project, Williams Brothers, had stated such equipment would remain there for the duration of the project.

With a completion date still four years out, one would hope that would be the end of it. After all, the project start-to-finish time would then be eight years. However, the ultimate goal of TxDOT is to widen Interstate-10 to three lanes in each direction. As bids for that project have not yet been solicited, it is possible the upcoming project could end up running concurrently to the present construction.