Louisiana, Arkansas celebrate joining of I-49 North

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(Courtesy of Tom Pace) Louisiana and Arkansas officials opened I-49 during a ceremony at the state line Monday.

The final 10 miles of I-49 North were officially opened Monday.

The piece of road from U.S. 71 to Arkansas’ state line was all part of $113 million expansion project to establish a vital transportation connection.

Now goods and services can move faster throughout Louisiana, while supporting an average of 10,000 commuters daily.

The announcement was held in conjunction with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department’s opening of its I-49 portion in Arkansas.

(Courtesy of Tom Pace) State Treasurer John Kennedy speaks at ribbon cutting of I-49 North that joins Louisiana and Arkansas.
(Courtesy of Tom Pace) State Treasurer John Kennedy speaks at ribbon cutting of I-49 North that joins Louisiana and Arkansas.

“The I-49 corridor represents an important infrastructure link not only for Louisiana and Arkansas, but also for the nation’s transportation network.  In addition to increased efficiency for local industries that are dependent upon trucking, this connector will encourage more economic development for our state,”said Gov.Bobby Jindal. “Opening this segment of I-49 North demonstrates our continued commitment to expand Louisiana’s infrastructure and make Louisiana a place where businesses want to invest and create more jobs for our people.”

The entire I-49 North project spans approximately 36 miles from north of Shreveport to the Arkansas border.  Nine of the eleven segments are complete and 30 miles are open to drivers.

More than five miles of construction is currently underway for the last two segments. The segment from MLK Blvd. to La. 1 began in April 2013 and will be completed in 2015. In addition, the segment from I-220 to MLK Blvd. is estimated to be completed by late 2016 or early 2017.

Sherri H. LeBas, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said, “The opening of these 10 miles of interstate through North Louisiana that connects with Arkansas marks a milestone in the development of the I-49 corridor.  This new infrastructure will provide a new gateway to Louisiana via Arkansas, making it more accessible to the rest of the country and promoting economic growth.”

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said, “The work of this international coalition represents the future for the next generation.”

To date, the Jindal Administration has invested a total of $375 million to this critical corridor – more than half of the total project cost of $670 million. Additionally, the Jindal administration has committed more than $6.6 billion to transportation and infrastructure projects throughout Louisiana since 2008.