BATON ROUGE – Kansas City Southern and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development have signed an agreement to raise the rail bridge over Acadian Thruway between Perkins Road and I-10. The work will create a higher clearance for traffic to go underneath and provide room for future lane expansion as traffic increases in the area.
The railroad track will be raised about four feet. It’s current 14’3″ clearance isn’t tall enough to accommodate what’s coming. The state says the new standards are about 16’6″.
“It’ll make that area a lot easier for people to get through, especially those trying to get to the Perkins Road area,” said DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett.
The bridge’s wood pilings will be removed to accommodate more traffic and trucks, since the Perkins Road exit is eventually being removed. This area of Acadian Thruway will also be widened and raised a foot, making the dip in the road not as severe. That part of the project won’t happen until 2025 and hasn’t been designed yet.
There is hope that flooding situations won’t happen as often, but DOTD says water pooling is inevitable.
“When we live this close to sea level, and we get 2.5″ of rain in an hour, and you have an underpass like that — you will get water from time to time,” Mallett said.
Drivers should prepare for a potential lunchtime mess. Road closures start on August 11 and will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The project should be complete by the end of this year.
While the project is ongoing, KCS says train traffic will continue as usual, but there will be planned outages. KCS says the track will be raised in phases, and there will be a longer outage when the bridge spans will be changed out. Train schedules will be adjusted around the planned outages.