BATON ROUGE, La. — The head of Louisiana’s transportation department says the state has seen a “significant and alarming increase” in crashes in an area where Interstate 10 is under construction.

Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson said Friday that accidents have gone up along I-10 between Interstate 49 and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, where two rehabilitation and widening projects are ongoing.

Wilson’s department is encouraging drivers to pay attention and drive safely through construction zones, reducing speed and being aware of lane shifts.

The transportation department says it will take steps to reduce speed through the construction corridor to try to reduce accidents. Those steps include increasing police presence, installing speed trailers to display a driver’s speed and discouraging lane changes.

Construction in the area is expected to last two years.