The department of transportation is preparing to widen Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge to three lanes, which will require the state to buy at least 17 homes and four businesses.

“There are a small number of businesses and a small number of homes that will be given that option to be relocated, with a very small number that will be required,” said state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson.

Wilson says the plan is to borrow 360-million dollars to pay for the construction and three days of public meetings begins tonight at McKinley Magnet School.

"These public meetings are absolutely essential for us to get an environmental decision that a contractor will then have to interpret and build consistent with that.”

And for Baton Rouge residents terrified that the construction will exacerbate the city’s already tortuous traffic.

“We’re going to maintain traffic while we build it. We’re going to build to the outside, and widen to the inside. By building to the outside first, we’ll be able to manage traffic a lot better.”

Wilson says estimates indicate without the expansion project, Baton Rouge’s current level of expansion would threaten to push rush hour wait times to even higher levels.