18 miles of I-49 opens

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Gov. Bobby Jindal opened 18.9 miles of I-49 North from La. 1 to U.S. 71, today.

The $171 million stretch will support an average of 10,000 commuters daily.

“Completing this segment of I-49 North demonstrates our continued commitment to finishing the entire I-49 North project,” said Jindal. “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.”

Jindal 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.

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.”

State Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, said, “Completing I-49 in its entirety is vital to the continued economic growth of our state and this latest section is a welcomed option for travelers and commerce in Louisiana. We must now progress to finishing the job to provide safe and sustainable roadways and bridges.”

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.