I-49 INNER-CITY CONNECTOR-SHREVEPORT
A segment of interstate I-49 in Louisiana was featured as a component of the mid-1950’s era Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways. It appeared on these early system maps as a segment linking I-10 to I-20 between Lafayette and Shreveport. Eventually, the desire for a north-south route linking the Midwest to the Gulf Coast became a priority, and additional segments of I-49 have been designed and constructed through Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri with the goal of linking Kansas City to New Orleans.
In Louisiana, the first completed segment of I-49 was between Shreveport and US 190 in Opelousas, and soon after to I-10 in Lafayette. This opened for traffic in 1996. Later, I-49 north, extending from I-220 in Shreveport to the Arkansas state line (and on to Texarkana) was opened in 2018. Additional segments of the I-49 corridor are being planned and designed in Louisiana. The longest is I-49 south, linking I-10 in Lafayette to New Orleans along the US 90 corridor and serving many of our coastal communities. The second (and shortest segment at 3.5 miles) is this I-49 ICC project – the Inner-City Connector – joining the existing I-49 highways by filling the gap between I-20 and I-220 in Shreveport.
The I-49 ICC project has followed Louisiana DOTD’s seven-stage project delivery process. The “Stage 0” feasibility study began in March of 2009 and was completed in May of 2010. The project is currently in “Stage 1”, which began in September of 2011. Below is a timeline of key events.
September 2011 –Notice to Proceed issued for Stage 1
December 2011 – NEPA Class of Action expanded from Environmental Assessment (EA) to Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) What's the difference? See A Citizen's Guide to NEPA.
2012 – Four Build Alternatives identified from two rounds of public meetings.
February 2013 – Addition of the I-220/LA 3132 corridor as NEPA Derived Build Alternative 5, effectively doubling the geographic scope of the area for analysis.
2016 – third round of public meetings conducted.
Current Tasks – Alternatives Screening, additional cultural studies, engineering design, report generation.
Complete the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Process (cultural resources review and approval)
Prepare and submit presumed required US Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f) document, with Legal Sufficiency review and approval to follow
Production of the Draft EIS document (anticipated mid-to-late 2021)
Conduct Public Hearing
Production of the Final EIS document
Record of Decision (ROD) (anticipated late 2021 to early 2022)