LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As of now, the Downtown Ryan Street Exit leaves a lot to be desired, but the beginning stages of a long overdue upgrade to infrastructure is underway.
The Ryan Street Exit project will not only make it easier for east and westbound traffic to Exit I-10, but property that has sat vacant for years will be more accessible as new roads will make a continuous corridor from North Lakeshore Drive to Opelousas Street on both sides of the Interstate.
"By creating feeder roads and frontage roads we should be able to open up and enjoy more development for those lots that are sitting empty right now," said Lori Marinovich, Lake Charles Downtown Development Director.
Marinovich explained to the Lake Charles Downtown Development Authority that preliminary work has already started. Sporadic orange flags are placed to help crews relocate the necessary utilities.
"As soon as the utilities are relocated, then DOTD will schedule the bidding for the project. So we are hoping it will go out this spring," said Marinovich.
DOTD has acquired all the land needed for the project, which officials hope will not only better connect downtown to I-10, but also redevelop property that has a lot of potential.
"Imagine the value of Interstate frontage property. Now they are kind of backdoor, but they are going to be right on the Interstate," said Marinovich.
Once under construction, DOTD estimates the project to take about 18 months to complete.