Today, Governor Bobby Jindal traveled to Georgetown to mark the completion of a critical segment of U.S. 165, or the "Northern Corridor." Spanning from Tullos to Georgetown, the segment is 7.3 miles long and represents one of the final projects to complete the four-laning of U.S. 165 from Iowa, Louisiana to the Arkansas state line.
Governor Jindal said, "Work on the very first segment of U.S. 165 started nearly 20 years ago and the completion of this segment today means we are one step closer to four-laning the entire "Northern Corridor' all the way from I-10 in Iowa up to the Arkansas state line. U.S. 165 is a critical corridor for Central Louisiana and our entire state because it is a major artery for commuters and business alike. Indeed, widening U.S. 165 will reduce congestion and enhance our economic development opportunities across the state."
The Governor was joined by Department of Transportation and Development Interim Secretary Sherri LeBas and local officials for the announcement.
DOTD Interim Secretary Sherri LeBas said, "The widening of U.S. 165, which traverses a significant portion of the state, will improve highway safety and accommodate the transportation needs of businesses and residents alike. The improvements along this corridor will help stimulate economic growth throughout the state by providing improved access for delivery of goods and increased business reach and accessibility."
The Governor emphasized that widening U.S. 165 will reduce congestion for drivers. In fact, in the Georgetown area alone, more than 3,300 drivers use U.S. 165 every day.
Governor Jindal also highlighted importance of four-laning U.S. 165 in terms of economic growth. The Governor said U.S. 165 is a critical freight corridor for the entire state.
U.S. 165 connects major centers for rail lines including:
* an East-West connection to the Kansas City Southern Railroad in Monroe,
* a Northwest-Southeast connection to Kansas City Southern Railroad in Alexandria,
* an East --West connection to the BNSF Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad in Lake Charles and Iowa,
* and an East --West connection with the Union Pacific Railroad in Kinder.
U.S. 165 also provides critical access to waterways and airports in Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Monroe. The Governor noted U.S. 165 serves as a major roadway for companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Diamond B Construction in Central Louisiana, Conocophillips Co. in Lake Charles and Graphic Packaging International, Inc. in Monroe.
The widening of U.S. 165 is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) program.
The completion of the Georgetown to Tullos segment opens a 202-mile stretch of U.S. 165 that is four-laned from Interstate 10 in Iowa, La., to Bastrop. The entire project to four-lane U.S. 165 represents a distance of around 220 miles.
Currently, improvements are under way on a 15.6 mile segment beginning with La. 425 in Bastrop and ending at the Arkansas state line. This project is slated to be completed by Fall of 2010. The final project on the corridor will four-lane the Fort Buhlow Bridge in Alexandria and DOTD will start accepting bids on this project in the Summer of 2010.