History of Interstate 10 in Louisiana

History of Interstate 10 in Louisiana

The I-10, I-12 and I-59 interchange at Slidell.


Before the construction of I-10, there were two east-west routes through southern Louisiana, US 90 and US 190. US 90 most closely follows the I-10 corridor, but curves south from Lafayette to go through Houma to New Orleans. US 190 goes further north than I-10. The middle section between Lafayette and Baton Rouge had no predecessor, before I-10 was built here there were no through roads in this area. US 190 ran from Opelousas to Baton Rouge via the Huey P. Long Bridge, the first and for a long time only bridge over the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, I-10 is mostly along US 61built the famous “Airline Highway”, which was the first long four-lane highway in Louisiana. Before the construction of the Interstate Highways in 1956, this was the longest four-lane road in the United States that was not a toll road.

As early as 1939 there were plans for a highway over the Houston-New Orleans-Mobile corridor. The first plans were pretty similar over the current route, with the exception around Baton Rouge. In 1943 the plan was shifted northwards, passing Baton Rouge, but not Lafayette and Lake Charles. In 1947 the plan changed again, this time to the current route. In mid-1957, the road was planned as I-10. Interstate 12 was also added to the plans in 1957.

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Construction history

For the construction of the highway as I-10, several bridges have already been opened that later became part of I-10. In 1951 the bridge opened over the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles and in 1954 the bridge opened over the Sabine River on the Texas border. This bridge was replaced in 2003 by the current connection. Construction on I-10 began soon after the launch of the Interstate Highway program, and large portions of I-10 in Louisiana were commissioned during the 1960s. In 1960, the Industrial Canal Bridge in New Orleans opened to traffic. On December 21, 1965, the original I-10 Twin Span Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain opened to traffic. The Horace Wilkinson Bridge opened on April 10, 1968across the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge for traffic. The Pearl River Bridge on the Mississippi border opened in 1970. In 1973, the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge opened to traffic west of Baton Rouge, creating a direct road link between Lafayette and Baton Rouge for the first time.

The last sections of I-10 opened between Baton Rouge and New Orleans between 1974-1978. The Airline Highway (US 61) was already a 2×2 divided highway, so construction of the parallel I-10 here was somewhat less of a priority than elsewhere in Louisiana.

In 2005, New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, which caused a storm surge and flooded the area. The I-10 Twin Span Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain was then badly damaged and was replaced in 2009 by a new 2×3 lane bridge. During the New Orleans floods, I-10 was one of the few roads that was not flooded due to its elevated position on overpasses and embankments. The section through the Atchafalaya Swamp was closed in November 2007 after an explosion of gases from the swamp. Traffic was diverted via US 190 and US 90, causing massive congestion as it fell around the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Opening history

Texas – Baton Rouge
Van Unpleasant Length Datum
27 Westlake 29 Lake Charles 3 km 28-09-1951
Texas state line 7 Vinton 11 km 11-05-1954
20 Sulphur 27 Westlake 11 km 16-04-1962
65 Jennings 80 Crowley 24 km 28-03-1963
29 Lake Charles 33 Lake Charles (US 171) 6 km 03-04-1963
33 Lake Charles (US 171) 43 Iowa 16 km 17-02-1964
43 Iowa 54 Welsh 18 km 09-12-1964
54 Welsh 65 Jennings 18 km 00-00-1965
7 Vinton 20 Sulphur 21 km 21-09-1965
80 Crowley 92 Duson 19 km 19-12-1966
153 Port Allen 155 I-110 Baton Rouge 3 km 10-04-1968
92 Duson 103 Lafayette (US 167) 19 km 30-10-1968
151 Westover 153 Port Allen 3 km 07-11-1970
103 Lafayette (US 167) 139 Big Head 58 km 12-03-1973
139 Big Head 151 Westover 19 km 28-03-1974
Baton Rouge – New Orleans – Mississippi
Van Unpleasant Length Datum
231 Airline Highway 234 Claiborne Avenue 5 km 19-02-1960
231 I-610 New Orleans 231 Airline Highway 1 km 16-02-1962
155 I-110 Baton Rouge 157 Perkins Road 3 km 18-09-1964
228 Causeway Boulevard 231 I-610 New Orleans 5 km 26-03-1965
157 Perkins Road 158 College Drive 2 km 00-10-1965
239 Louisa Street 240 Jourdan Road 1 km 21-12-1965
254 US 11 267 I-12 Slidell 21 km 21-12-1965
238 I-610 New Orleans 239 Louisa Street 2 km 00-04-1966
240 Jourdan Road 241 Morrison Road 2 km 08-12-1966
246 I-510 New Orleans 254 US 11 13 km 24-04-1967
225 Veterans Boulevard 228 Causeway Boulevard 5 km 00-12-1967
236 St. Bernard Avenue 238 I-610 New Orleans 3 km 27-02-1968
235 Orleans Avenue 236 St. Bernard Avenue 2 km 14-03-1968
223 Williams Boulevard 225 Veterans Boulevard 3 km 17-05-1968
235 Tulane Avenue 235 Orleans Avenue 1 km 16-06-1969
267 I-12 Slidell Mississippi State Line 10 km 16-02-1971
209 Laplace 223 Williams Boulevard 23 km 17-12-1971
240 Morrison Road 246 I-510 New Orleans 10 km 18-10-1972
234 Claiborne Avenue 235 Tulane Avenue 1 km 08-12-1972
158 College Drive 166 Highland Road 13 km 31-05-1974
166 Highland Road 173 Gonzales 11 km 19-12-1974
187 Sorrento 209 Laplace 34 km 16-04-1975
173 Gonzales 187 Sorrento 23 km 05-05-1978


I-10 near the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner.

Texas – Lake Charles

The stretch from Sulfur to the junction with I-210 west of Lake Charles was widened to 2×3 lanes in or before the 1990s. Around 2006, an 18-kilometer stretch between Vinton and Sulfur was widened to 2×3 lanes. On August 19, 2022, a short widening to 2×4 lanes west of I-210 in Lake Charles was completed. On November 17, 2020, the widening of 17 kilometers of I-10 between the Texas and Vinton border began. This project was completed in 2025. With this, I-10 had through 2×3 lanes between Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana.

Lake Charles – Lafayette

In 2007, a 15-mile stretch between I-210 at Lake Charles and US 165 at Iowa was widened to 2×3 lanes.


Between 2016 and 2020, the portion of I-49 at Lafayette to Breaux Bridge has been widened to 2×3 lanes for 10 kilometers.

Baton Rouge

Between late 2008 and June 2013, I-10 through south Baton Rouge was widened to 2×3 lanes as part of the GeauxWider project. Then, between 2018 and 2020, I-10 continued eastward widening to 2×3 lanes to LA 73 at Prairieville.

New Orleans

I-10 has been widened in phases in the western suburbs of New Orleans. In 2004, a section between I-610 and Airline Highway was widened from 2×3 to 2×4 lanes. Also in 2004, 3 kilometers between Clearview Parkway and Causeway Boulevard were widened from 2×3 to 2×5 lanes. In 2008, a further 3 kilometers to the I-610 was widened to 2×5 lanes. On January 13, 2015, the 2 kilometer widening of I-10 in Metairie between Veterans Boulevard and Clearview Parkway was completed. The highway has been widened here from 2×3 to 2×5 lanes.


Lake Charles

It is planned to replace the Calcasieu River Bridge with a wider bridge, and widen the corridor from I-10 through Lake Charles to 2×3 lanes. Replacing the Calcasieu River Bridge is technically and environmentally complicated. On December 18, 2020, the green light was given to replace the bridge through a PPP project.

The original bridge dates from 1952 and was originally intended for US 90. This narrow bridge has been part of Interstate 10 since the 1960s.

Lafayette – Baton Rouge

Work began in May 2017 to widen a 25-kilometer stretch of I-10 between Lafayette and the Atchafalaya Bridge to 2×3 lanes. The first phase of 12 kilometers was completed in 2019. In early 2020, the second phase up to the Atchafalaya Bridge began. The entire project will cost $300 million. This route still had the original concrete road surface from the 1960s.

Traffic intensities

26,000 vehicles cross the Texas border every dayabout. In Lake Charles, this increases to 52,000 vehicles per day, before dropping to 35,000 vehicles. This then rises to about 60,000 in Lafayette and about 40,000 of those remain towards Baton Rouge. 107,000 vehicles cross the Mississippi River daily in Baton Rouge, and 190,000 vehicles between I-110 and I-12. After I-12, it drops to 103,000 vehicles in the southeastern suburbs of Baton Rouge. Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, this drops to a typical 35,000 vehicles per day. After I-55 at La Place, this rises to 51,000 vehicles, and 65,000 in Metairie, a significant drop after Hurricane Katrina. Also through New Orleans the intensities are only half what they were before 2005, with about 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles per day. Only 34. 000 vehicles cross Lake Pontchartrain to the mainland every day. At Slidell, 57,000 vehicles and 35,000 vehicles cross the border withMississippi over.

Lane Configuration

I-10 in Downtown New Orleans.

Van Unpleasant Lanes Comments
Exit 0 Exit 153 2×2 western Louisiana
Exit 153 Exit 155 2×3 use over the Mississippi
Exit 155 Exit 156 2×4 Baton Rouge
Exit 156 Exit 173 2×3 Baton Rouge
Exit 173 Exit 210 2×2
Exit 210 Exit 226 2×3 Kenner
Exit 226 Exit 230 2×5 western New Orleans
Exit 230 Exit 234 2×4 New Orleans
Exit 234 Exit 238 2×3 New Orleans
Exit 238 Exit 240 2×4 New Orleans
Exit 240 Exit 254 2×3 eastern New Orleans
Exit 254 Exit 263 2×2 brug over Lake Pontchartrain
Exit 263 Exit 268 2×3
Exit 268 Exit 274 2×2

History of Interstate 10 in Louisiana

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