Original Post: I-49 Extension
The Shreveport Connector through downtown is a final step to connecting Texarkana, AR and Lafayette, LA. The connector is part of a larger plan to extend I-49 from New Orleans to Winnipeg, Manitoba. A, $55 million, 4-mile stretch of new interstate connecting Martin Luther King Dr and LA 1 (North Market Street), was officially opened to traffic on May 31, 2017. The next phase connects I-49 north of Shreveport to I-49 south to Alexandria.
Shreveport and Louisiana officials see Interstate-49 in Shreveport as essential for attracting new economic development. According to them, transportation is number one or two of importance on a checklist of site selection factors for corporate and manufacturing executives. The route through highly developed, and primarily minority, areas of Shreveport aren't without controversy.
Some cities are relocating Interstates that divided neighborhoods devastating some communities. An article in The Atlantic reports on several cities undergoing or considering removal and revitalization plans. Shreveport sees the I-49 intown route as an economic development opportunity in itself. Shreveport newspaper The Times article reports on that community's issues and the Council's ultimate support for the controversial route.
Segments J and K, sections connecting Shreveport from I-220 north to I-49 to the south were just recently and currently being completed, as reported in this KSLA news story.
The segment from Lafayette, Louisiana to New Orleans is yet to begin. The route will follow much of US 90, a majority of which is already limited access. I-49 will intersect with I-10 in Lafayette and again in New Orleans as well as I-310.
The route is important to industry, particularly the petroleum industry. Texarkana, with a population of just 68,000 divided evenly between Texas and Arkansas, is already served by I-30 (itself suggested for extension). Nonetheless, officials see the new Interstate as a boon for economic development.