On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, there was another incident on Interstate 10 that snarled traffic in Louisiana for several hours. The reason for the delay wasn't a crash or a disabled vehicle. The reason for the several hours of sitting in traffic was that Louisiana roads and bridges are in great need of repair.

Jamie Street via Unsplash.com
Jamie Street via Unsplash.com
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Now, the incident from yesterday was in Lake Charles. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 had to be closed because of an issue with an expansion joint in the much-maligned Calcasieu River Bridge. It also highlighted Louisiana's need for better and more modern transportation solutions.

I can only imagine how close to "highway Hell on Earth" we will experience when and if the federal government and Louisiana's government ever actually start work on replacing the I-10 bridge over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge. That brings us to the latest meeting of the Southern Rail Commission.

Southern Rail Commisison via Facebook
Southern Rail Commisison via Facebook
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Much of the energy of the SRC has been focused on restarting passenger rail service between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. The sticking point in that project is the City of Mobile. But, it does appear as if that city and the state of Alabama are finally coming to terms with what an economic boom passenger rail from the Big Easy to The Azaela City will bring.

But there is another project that will be a direct benefit to the people of Louisiana. That project has already been given preliminary funding and the infrastructure needed is already in place. We are speaking of a passenger rail route that would connect Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

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The proposed route would have trains making a stop at the New Orleans Airport and near the Superdome. Just imagine being able to take the train to a Saints game or a concert. Or from New Orleans being able to park the car and ride the rails to Tiger Stadium. Okay, you'd need an Uber or a taxi to actually get on campus but it would certainly be convenient.

By the way, the actual proposed train stops in Baton Rouge would be at the intersection of Government Street and 14th and the second would be located in what's known as the "Health District" of Baton Rouge. The reasoning behind that stop would be to aid in the evacuation of patients in times of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Mufid Majnun via Unsplash.com
Mufid Majnun via Unsplash.com
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The proposed price tag for a ride from Baton Rouge to New Orleans? $15, that's it. I know you can't drive to and park in New Orleans for that small amount of money. But we should remind you, that is a speculative price and is subject to change.

The Southern Railway Commission's plan is to offer train service once a day in the beginning and then add a second trip about six months after the initial service begins. And your obvious next question would likely be this.

southern rail commission via Facebook
southern rail commission via Facebook
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When Might Rail Service Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans Begin?

According to sources close to the project, the upgrades in infrastructure that would need to be completed could take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. So, if the involved parties were to sign off on the deal today it is highly likely that rail service between Louisiana's largest two cities could begin in 2026. But that's a lot of "Ifs" that have to be addressed so that is not a solid date but a speculative one.

Based on the tone of the meetings between those involved the prospect of passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile is seemingly more likely by the end of the year at least. And the confirmation that rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans could come within a similar time frame.

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

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