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Gilchrist Construction Company Apparent Successful Proposer for New Loyola Interchange

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., along with state and local officials, announce the selection of Gilchrist Construction Company to build the Loyola Interchange Project, which will create an entrance ramp into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

“Upon taking office, my administration made it a priority to get this important project underway as soon as possible,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Not only will this help significantly reduce traffic congestion, but it’s only fitting that this world-class airport have an entrance of the same stature. Thanks to Dr. Wilson and his team, we have been able to secure the necessary funding and accomplish an important first step in turning this long-awaited improvement into a reality.”

These proposals were reviewed extensively for their ability to efficiently complete the project while minimizing effects on the traveling public before making this decision. Of the three contractors that submitted proposals earlier this month, Gilchrist Construction Company is the apparent successful proposer for the contract for this design-build improvement project. Each of the three proposals presented offered an efficient design that would reduce traffic congestion in the area.

“I want to thank the various jurisdictions for working with us to make a great airport project even greater,” Wilson said. “This is one of four major projects that have been on the books for years that we are delivering simultaneously with GARVEE bonds and innovative procurement. This will be one of the most complex design-build projects with regards to traffic to date and promises to be a signature interchange for years to come.”

Gilchrist Construction Company’s proposal utilized a diverging diamond interchange to improve traffic flow at the intersection of Loyola Drive and I-10, which would eliminate the need for a left turn signal at the interstate. This alternative would be one of the first diverging diamond interchanges constructed in Louisiana. The solution would also reconfigure the proposed elevated on and off ramps from New Orleans to a single structure in the median of Airport Access Road south of Veterans Boulevard. The proposal also provided aesthetic enhancements that would be a first for the region that include color, creative lighting and landscaping.

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“I am excited that we have an end in sight for this long-discussed project. The airport and the interchange will be transformative for the residents of this region and the millions of visitors that will travel through them,” said Representative Joseph Stagni. “I appreciate the efforts of this administration and our local government partners for the progress and economic development this interchange provides, while also balancing the need for the improvement and the impact to our city.”

“As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, we approved the design-build procurement for this project less than a year and a half ago because it offers the opportunity to provide the best value to citizens while leveraging innovation of the private sector in both the design and construction phases,” said Senator Gary Smith. “The department has been able to provide for the long-term solution while also providing enhanced access and completed the interim solution before the airport actually opens.”

This project is being funded by the state’s first issuance of GARVEE bonds, which are special bonds that are repaid using federal funds allocated to Louisiana. Additional funding commitments for this project have been aided by Jefferson Parish, the City of New Orleans, LANOIA, the City of Kenner and the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission.

A design-build contract execution is scheduled for late August 2019, as well as a groundbreaking in the fall of 2019. This project will cost $125.6 million. Once the design phase is completed, construction is anticipated to begin in early 2020, with an estimated completion of mid to late 2023.

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