Planning and designing a new interchange with access improvements to two casino developments
In March of 2011, a developer we were working with said: “the one thing that keeps me awake at night is the thought of completing a $500 million casino without suitable access.” We heard what he said, and we took action. Our team would work diligently to complete roadway access improvements that the casino needed, on time and on budget.
The new Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles would attract hundreds of additional visitors, and existing access would have created a choke point on I-210 at the Cove Lane interchange. Serving as lead roadway designer and project manager, our team first investigated I-210 and nearby interchanges to understand existing traffic patterns and project access needs.
We needed to convert the existing one-ramp interchange to a full interchange. Typically, this approach could require more time and money. So, we proposed 30 different configurations of the project. Ultimately, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) approved a tight urban diamond interchange design because it would minimize right-of-way impacts, reduce costs, and expedite the project schedule while providing a full interchange.
Available funding was tight, so we devised a plan to include a $20 million share by the private developer, combined with funds from the DOTD, state bonds, and local sources. The project opened in time for the 2015 Independence Day celebration--five years ahead of schedule. Collaboration was key, and our relationships with stakeholders, knowledge of requirements, and innovative thinking led to a success story for the client and local community.
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