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Old 12-12-2007, 06:12 PM   #1
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Post Driving on I-49 by 2013 “Possible” says LA Transportation Scty

Driving on I-49 by 2013 “Possible” says LA Transportation Scty

Good News: Money in for 24 miles…Bad News: Need $224M to Finish

By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, SBLive!
December 12th, 2007

36 Miles. Seems a rather short distance: about like from the Texas-Louisiana line, east on I-20, to around the Minden exit. Yet, it seems like, it’s taking forever to complete the 36 mile stretch of I-49 North, from I-220 in Shreveport, to the Arkansas-Louisiana state border.

Now comes “The Good News”: In a best case scenario, we could be driving on that completed 36 miles of I-49N by the year 2012 or 2013, according to Louisiana Transportation Secretary Johnny Bradberry. Worst case: by 2015.

Bradberry brought staff members from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, to Shreveport’s Government Plaza, for an I-49 North Update, this morning, held in the Council Chambers.

Now, “The Bad News”: Bradberry didn’t mince words. While the I-49N project funding is on target for the first 24 miles, another $224 million is needed to complete the remaining 12 miles from Martin Luther King to the I-220 interchange in north Shreveport.

In addition, Bradberry said, he recently learned that Arkansas has fallen behind in the completion of their interstate project, due to lack of funds. Now it appears, Arkansas’ final portion joining with Louisiana I-49N may not happen ‘til 2015 or 2016. That will certainly be a challenge.

Bradberry came prepared with full disclosure. Richard Savoie, his Deputy Chief Engineer, displayed a large map, and outlined the entire project segments with the cost for each… while DOTD Undersecretary Mike Bridges, talked money (or, the lack thereof, in some cases).

The room was filled with local I-49 supporters including Gard Wayt, Al Kessler, Lindy Broderick, Linda Bernacki, Dick Bremer, Bill Cooksey, and others…along with newly elected State Senator B.L. “Buddy” Shaw…State Senator Lydia Jackson…and, Dan Turner, representing Congressman Jim McCrery.

Mayor Cedric Glover watched the proceedings along with Mike Strong, Tom Dark, and Rick Seaton. At one point Glover pressed Bradberry about some alternate funding sources…In essence, Bradberry said, nothing’s off the table.

Bradberry concluded that he hopes to continue as Director of DOTD, but that decision has to come from Governor-Elect Jindal, possibly next week.

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