Construction under way on Eden Isles interchange

The Times Picayue
By Judi Hymel
St. Tammany bureau
May 30, 1987

Work is under way on a new Interstate 10 interchange at Eden Isles near Slidell.

State workers are laying the drainage pipes for the $9 million project, which is to be completed by late next summer, state Department of Transportation and Development officials said Friday.

The next phase is to build an embankment for an overpass over I-10 and then to build the bridge, the final phase of the project.

The state has considered building a third interchange off I-10 into the Slidell area for the past 10 years, said Merlin Pistoruis, DOTD district manager. The Eden Isles area was chosen for the interchange because it has developed so rapidly, he said.

The then-Eden Isles Inc. donated 85 acres of right of way to the state for the project. The corporation, which has since been bought by Landmark Land, Inc., also agreed to build a $2.5 million access road linking I-10 to U.S. 11.

The interchange will allow Eden Isles to develop 3,000 acres of vacant marsh on the east side. Gerald Barton, president of Landmark Land, a Carmel, Calif.-based company, said in March that the plans for developing the area will take six months to a year to complete.

Eden Isle Inc. originally wanted to donate $1 million to pay the state's 10 percent share of the project. But it scrapped the plan when it learned that the bulk of any private donation for interstate projects must go the federal government, which pays 90 per cent of the cost of the project.

Instead, Eden Isles Inc. gave the city of Slidell $800,000 and the St. Tammany Police Jury $200,000 for other road work.

City and parish officials have denied the $1 million donation was made to get their support for the interchange.

The city will use the money to extend Spartan Drive in south Slidell, said Reinhard Dearing, Slidell chief of staff. Because the new interchange will bring more traffic into south Slidell, city officials said the road needs to be extended.

The engineering firm contracted for the job, J.J. Krebs and Sons, is drafting plans for the extension. Work should begin in September, he said.

Spartan Drive is being extended from U.S. 11 to Howze Beach Road through Fritchie Municipal Park, giving motorists an additional route in south Slidell between U.S. 11 and Old Spanish Trail.

The police jury put the money in its general road maintenance budget, parish officials said.

Commuters, who recently have been faced with traffic nightmares because of other construction work on I-10, will be spared on the interchange project, Pistoruis said.

Traffic will not be affected by any phase of the work.


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