Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Dept. of Transportation and Development Sec. Shawn D. Wilson Ph.D. and numerous local and state leaders for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the official opening of the I-49 North Segment K Phase 2 project in Shreveport. The $142 million project that began in 2014 creates a new interstate interchange with I-220. It also puts into place another segment of the nearly 40-mile I-49 corridor in northwest Louisiana. The total project cost from the Arkansas state line to I-220 is approximately $650 million.
“As infrastructure funding becomes more difficult to come by, it’s important to celebrate projects such as this,” Gov. Edwards said. “This interchange is a game-changer for Northwest Louisiana as I-49 continues its evolution as a major north-south thoroughfare throughout the Midwest and South. As DOTD continues to complete these segments, Louisiana is able to facilitate economic growth, create job opportunities, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.”
“This is a proud moment,” Sec. Wilson said. “Travelers will now have a straight interstate drive on I-49 to I-220 and further on to I-20. This is vital for Louisiana and national commerce as freight can easily maneuver on our interstate system.”
The celebration of I-49 Segment K Phase 2 includes not only the opening of the interstate interchange, but also the re-construction of I-220 from N. Market Street to Hilry Huckaby III Avenue in Shreveport. The more than 68,000 daily motorists will now enjoy newly built eastbound and westbound lanes of I-220.
Marking milestones in the I-49 corridor extends well beyond the interstate interchange, with two adjacent segments recently completed – Segments J and K Phase 1. These two pieces of infrastructure total $81 million in infrastructure investment.
As part of Segment J, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (LA 3194) was widened and re-constructed to better serve the approximately 10,000 motorists who use the highway every day.
From a technical standpoint, the I-220 eastbound flyover ramp is the first pre-cast, segmental bridge connected with post-tensioned cables that has been built in the state. This method allows for the construction of a larger bridge span with minimal impact to the traveling public. The life span of the structure is also lengthened with this method of construction.
Aesthetically, the talents of local artists are visible on several bridge columns. Bas-relief style decorative panels showcase scenes specific to the Shreveport region and are highlighted with special accent lighting.A contest held by the City of Shreveport’s Regional Arts Council made this unique display of art possible.
Since 2013, eleven segments of the I-49 North extension have been constructed and opened, including the portion that connects at the Arkansas State line.
Long-term plans call for I-49 to be extended from Lafayette to New Orleans and north from Shreveport to Kansas City, MO, where it will connect with other interstates and provide a seamless link from Louisiana ports to the Canadian border.