An 18.9-mile section of Interstate 49 between Highway 1 and U.S. 71 opened on Nov. 26.
Gov. Bobby Jindal was in Shreveport on Nov. 26 for the opening of a new 18.9-mile section of Interstate 49 from Highway 1 north to U.S. 71 between Hosston and Gilliam.
Jindal, Louisiana Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas and other state and local officials were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening. The $171 million stretch will support an average of 10,000 commuters daily, according to a DOT news release.
"Completing this segment of I-49 North demonstrates our continued commitment to finishing the entire I-49 North project,” Jindal said. “I-49 North has been in the making for decades and we’re proud that our administration put a plan in place to fully fund this critical corridor."
Jindal said I-49 North will help goods move faster throughout the state and across the country, strengthening the state’s economy.
Representative Henry Burns said, "These new I-49 North segments have been a long time coming,” Rep. Henry Burns said. “They will speed up traffic, make commutes safer and help transport goods for key Louisiana industries. This project truly will transform our area and allow for more economic growth, and I am committed to seeing the remainder of I-49 North completed."
The entire project spans 36 miles from north of Shreveport to the Arkansas border. The next 11-mile project, Segments A-D, is scheduled to open to local traffic in March 2014. The last five miles of the project, Segment J and Segment K, remain to be constructed. Construction on Segment J is already underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2015. Segment K will be let for construction in January 2014. The entire I-49 North project is estimated to be completed by 2016 or 2017.
"Opening these 18.9 miles of I-49 North shows our work is paying off, and we will not stop working until the entire I-49 North project is completed,” Sen. Sherri Buffington said. “I will continue working with Governor Jindal and the Legislature so that we can continue making strategic transportation investments in the future that drive our economy and make roads safer for drivers."
To date, the Jindal Administration has invested a total of $375 million to I-49 N – more than half of the total project cost of $670 million. Additionally, the Jindal Administration has committed more than $5.6 billion to transportation and infrastructure projects throughout Louisiana since 2008.