A Widening I-12 Gives Covington Residents Much to Hope For

I-12 expansion in Covington

St. Tammany Parish traffic is legendarily bad. In fact, it’s so bad that over 20,000 residents belong to a Facebook group named “West St. Tammany Traffic and Donuts.”

However, thanks to some big changes on I-12 near Covington, that group may have less to complain about. On a 3.5-mile section of the Interstate between U.S. 190 and LA 21, including the Tchefuncte River Bridge, crews have just finished adding extra lanes to the highway. For residents, this widening has greatly improved their commute times in a rapidly-growing area of the state.

St. Tammany Parish has over 327,000 registered vehicles, the third-most in the state, according to the Louisiana OMV. Especially in the western part of the parish, development has greatly outpaced infrastructure. This has led to more and more congestion over time.

In particular, I-12 is a major choke point for the region. When its lanes would begin to overflow, traffic would reroute on LA 22. That would lead to further congestion in Madisonville, Mandeville, and other towns.

Around 120,000 vehicles pass through that stretch daily, nearly as many as the busiest stretches of I-10 through New Orleans. And the area is only going to keep growing.

While the current improvements are great, they’re not the end of the road for the area. The last phase of the widening will add lanes between LA 21 and LA 1077. It’s slated to begin soon.

Of course, adding a lane to a highway doesn’t completely solve St. Tammany Parish’s growing pains. In a few years, the area might’ve outgrown the current improvements. For a little while, at least, residents have some relief from the endless headache of traffic.

with reporting from Nola.com