Today, Governor Bobby Jindal opened 18.9 miles of I-49 North from La. 1 to U.S. 71. The $171 million stretch will support an average of 10,000 commuters daily.
Governor Jindal said, "Completing this segment of I-49 North demonstrates our continued commitment to finishing the entire I-49 North project. When I-49 North is completed, it will be a vital corridor for the flow of commerce that will support our economy and spur more business investment. Investing in our roads is critical for both economic development and keeping Louisiana drivers safe. 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."
The Governor said I-49 North will be a vital connector that will help goods move faster across the country and throughout Louisiana, further strengthening the state's economy.
Senator Sherri Buffington said, "This project will go a long way toward improving commutes and infrastructure in North Louisiana. 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. 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."
Representative Henry Burns said, "These new I-49 North segments have been a long time coming, and I am honored to mark their opening with Governor Jindal. 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 I-49 North project spans 36 miles from north of Shreveport to the Arkansas border. With today's announcement, Segments E-I of the project are complete and 18.9 miles will be open to drivers. Another 11 miles, Segments A-D, are near completion and will be opened 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.
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.