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I-69 in LA (and LA 3132/Shreveport Inner Loop Extension)

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Draft minutes from early April NLCOG Transportation Committee meeting indicate that a ROD for I-69 SIU 15 (map: should be released sometime around March of next year.  There is also discussion of the LA 3132 Inner Loop Expressway Extension and how it might connect to I-69 (to make a long story short, the revision of I-69 SIU 15's path caused a five year delay; in the interim, a subdivision was built near the the original proposed path of the Extension that would connect to I-69 and NLCOG now wants to consider alternatives to the original routing, including non-controlled access options).  Thought it would be as good a time as any to start an I-69 Louisiana thread [since it is the beginning of the thread, here is a link to a map of SIU 14 (Haughton to El Dorado AR), even though Committee meeting had nothing to do with it (]. Here's the link to the draft minutes:

--- Quote ---II. Status Update I-69 SIU 15
J. Kent Rogers (NLCOG Staff)
Mr. Rogers stated that FHWA and DOTD have concurred that the term functional replacement is now being replaced with Mitigation based on the loss of research ability.
Dr. Richardson has offered the following alternatives:
1) Complete relocation of the research facility to research property they own down in Red River Parish. He said his rough estimate for full relocation would be ~$5 – $7 million. The current research station property would revert back to the State of Louisiana.
2) Purchase contiguous property in an amount that would establish entirely new research plots on the newly acquired property… during the meeting we roughly figured ~40 - 45 acres.
Federal Highways legal department is reviewing alternative one. The benefit to this is although there will be a ~$5 – $7 million relocation cost there would be no right of way cost associated with this parcel due to it reverting back to state ownership.
DOTD has agreed to this. Following federal legal review an agreement will be drafted between all parties (LSU – DOTD – FHWA). The port agreement will be used as a template since it has undergone scrutiny and approval by all parties.

Michael Baker is updating some field work and will then finalize the EIS. The Final EIS should hit the streets for review around the December-January time frame and we should have a ROD 30 – 45 days following.

Mayor Walker asked to clarify if the property for relocation was in Red River Parish or if it is actually in Bossier Parish along the Red River at their existing facility. Mr. Petro stated he would check on that but he recalled it being at their facility in Red River Parish.
Mr. Rogers stated that all of this has caused a roughly 5 year delay with the environmental work and receiving a ROD on I-69 SIU 15. This in turn leads us to the next item on the agenda.

III. LA 3132 (Inner Loop Expressway Ext.) discussion
J. Kent Rogers (NLCOG Staff)
Mr. Rogers started the discussion with some background on the Inner Loop Extension and its history including the initial study performed by the City of Shreveport (copy available on the table). Mr. Rogers noted that this study had looked at many alternatives to completing a controlled access loop around the Shreveport Bossier urban area. When I-69 came to light the group then commissioned an I-69 Inner Loop Compatibility Report. This report reviewed that a major portion of I-69 SIU 15 could be accomplished through the development of the Inner Loop Extension and vice versa. At that time it was decided to focus on a two phased development of the Inner Loop Extension the first section from Bert Kouns to Flournoy-Lucas and phase two from Flournoy-Lucas to I-69 in proximity to the port. In addition, the Inner Loop Extension Study became the background on which the EIS for I-69 SIU 15 was to be developed and a gentleman’s agreement was arranged for the environmental work and construction of the second phase of the Inner Loop Extension to potentially be completed as part of I-69 SIU 15 as a connector. The environmental would begin with the issuance of a ROD for SIU 15 thereby providing the two ending points.

Mr. Rogers then pointed out that with the delay in completing the Environmental work on I-69 due to the issues discussed earlier, the development of 12 Oaks subdivision to the south and east of the current intersection with Flournoy-Lucas and now with Mr. Larkin’s development to the south and west of the intersection this poses some concerns over the future Inner Loop Extension as currently laid out in the MPO Long Range Plan. Mr. Rogers then asked Mr. Larkin if he would like to express his concerns as they relate to his development.
Mr. Larkin presented a map with the Inner Loop Extension superimposed over the 12 Oaks development and the surrounding area. He then described his development in the area and the expenses he has incurred to date. This included over a million dollars on the bridge crossing Bayou Pierre. Mr. Larkin stated that he had a number of studies completed towards implementation of the project including some traffic studies.
Mr. Larkin then began a discussion over other potential alignments and/or ways to connect the port facility and I-69. These options included using Flournoy-Lucas and La 1 since Flournoy-Lucas is nearing completion of the expansion to 5 lanes and La 1 is 4 lanes with median from that point south to the port facility. Mr. Rogers pointed out that technically since the I-69 compatibility study was done that the plan and model show the alignment more of a straight shot towards I-69 and port connection. Mr. Larkin noted that a traffic study he had completed showed that Flournoy-Lucas and La 1 should be able to handle any future traffic for many years.

Mr. Larkin continued to emphasize the need to remove the alignment shown due to impacts on the surrounding properties. He noted that current property owners would need to disclose this potential alignment on future sales of property. Mr. Rogers pointed out that technically they should be doing that now. Mr. Larkin stated that he knew for a fact that these land owners did not know of this potential alignment and were not made aware of it through current land sales.
Mr. Larkin then discussed his request for access to Flournoy-Lucas in the area of current control of access to the Inner Loop and the proposed extension. Again Mr. Larkin referenced a traffic study he had completed and noted the study concluded that the access would not impact traffic flow through the area and that the design of the intersection and with the 5 lanes of Flournoy-Lucas there was plenty of capacity to handle the traffic.

Mr. Altimus asked Mr. England for the ports perspective as related to the inner loop and I-69. Mr. England described that the port felt that with the extension of Inner Loop to Flournoy-Lucas and with the expansion of Flournoy-Lucas to LA 1 these facilities could handle the volumes of truck traffic for a number of years. Mr. England stated that the ports long range connection is with I-69 and its river crossing. He further stated that the port was putting its eggs in the I-69 basket.

Mr. Altimus then asked Mr. Sanders for the opinion of the DOTD district office. Mr. Sanders noted that again the long range plan reflects a controlled access loop around the area. By directing traffic to Flournoy-Lucas and La1 you are in effect giving up on that controlled access facility. Although it may currently handle the traffic there is still potential for other developments along Flournoy-Lucas. Mr. Sanders state they are less concerned with LA 1 due to the levees on one side and the rail lines on the other. Mr. Sanders stated that they did not want this section of Flournoy-Lucas to become another Bert Kouns. Again Mr. Sander’s stated the need for control of access. Mr. Glover noted that he does not wish to abandon control access concept just to look at other alignments and other means to do so. Mr. Glover then stated that he would like to offer the following motion.

I, Cedric Glover, Mayor of Shreveport move that:
1. The MPO rescind the approved corridor alignment for the southerly extension of the Inner Loop (La 3132) from Flournoy-Lucas Rd. (La 523) to La Hwy 1.
2. The MPO requests the removal of the roadway “control of access” along Flournoy-Lucas Rd. at it’s intersection with the Inner Loop thus allowing access to community development in the area.
3. The MPO requests access approval to the future community development as shown as Option 1 on the Traffic Impact Study prepared by Neel-Schaffer dated March 4, 2011.
4. A study be undertaken to investigate the feasibility of an alternative Inner Loop extension corridor northwest and east of the existing Inner Loop terminus through undeveloped property north of Bayou Pierre from Flournoy-Lucas Rd to La Hwy 1.

Mr. England seconded the motion. Mr. Altimus opened the floor for discussion.
Mr. Rogers asked that from a staff/technical stand point he would like the wording of the study to reflect an Environments Study. Mr Rogers also asked if items 2 and 3 would be recommendations or request because the MPO actually has no control over this. These are items handled by DOTD and that these facilities are state highways.
Mr. Sanders concurred with Mr. Rogers. Mr. Altimus also state that we all understand that DOTD has final say on the access to state highways. This would be a request. Mr. Glover concurred and restated the motion for the record with the inclusion of Environmental Study in item 4.
Mr. Altimus called for a vote. The motion passed with Mr. Sanders as a dissenting vote.
Mr. Jambor noted that he felt that we were trying to preserve the corridor and that we need to be sure to do better for preserving what ever corridor comes forth from the environmental study.

--- End quote ---

Since I-69 interrelated with Inner Loop Expressway Extension, I have placed them in same thread.  Opinion piece in Shreveport Times recounts how two new subdivisions, in conjunction with officials apparently asleep at the wheel, may possibly kill the Extension (and the Extension's connection to and concurrency with I-69):

--- Quote ---A developer's request for access to Flournoy Lucas Road near its intersection with the Inner Loop set off an odd chain of April events.
In considering the proposed entrance to developer Tim Larkin's new 150-acre Esplanade neighborhood, the region's transportation planning panel discovered that an overlay of an Inner Loop extension corridor would wipe out 40 upscale houses in the adjacent Twelve Oaks subdivision ...
Yikes! was sort of the response as the — take a breath — Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Planning Committee calculated the $15 million cost to plow through those upscale houses, while Mayor Cedric Glover counted the lost property taxes.
So the committee, led by Glover, killed the corridor.
Never mind that an MPO staffer noted that the preferred route since 1992 actually would miss Twelve Oaks. Instead of intersecting with Louisiana 1, the preferred route would more closely brush Larkin's high-end development on its more southerly route toward a hoped-for intersection with the dreamed-of Interstate 69. The goal: complete a controlled-access loop around Shreveport-Bossier City ... So without the hope of an Inner Loop continuing south, some now see Flournoy Lucas doomed as the permanent "industrial" loop for heavy traffic traveling to and from the Port of Shreveport-Bossier ... Of course the chief mistake, in fact a bureaucratic and leadership mystery, is just how a couple of major subdivisions were allowed to not just deflect, but perhaps kill, the path of a 19-year-old Inner Loop corridor.

--- End quote ---

A discussion of the the Extension is the major item on tomorrow's Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Planning Committee agenda:


Why the city allowed the subdivisions to get in the way of the Inner Loop extension in the first place is a major concern.

If they are going to downgrade the proposed interchange at Flournoy Lucas Rd., then they might as well downgrade the entire section E of I-49 to expressway/arterial status...or go back to Plan A and complete I-220 through Barksdale AFB.

Or...just do as I originally recommended and dump I-69 between Carthage and Monticello and reroute through US 425/US 165 to I-10 E of Lake Charles, and use the US 59 corridor to Texarkana for the Texas segments.

The Inner City Connector segment of I-49 is more important, anyway.



--- Quote from: Anthony_JK on May 04, 2011, 12:29:31 PM ---Two words, Shreveport MPO/NLCOG: CORRIDOR PRESERVATION.
Why the city allowed the subdivisions to get in the way of the Inner Loop extension in the first place is a major concern.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Shreveport Councilman Michael Corbin ... offered one of the best big-picture assessments of this planning dysfunction episode.
"We just went through a master plan process. If we block off transportation access to I-69 and to the port, if we're short-sighted just for the promise of property taxes (from new housing development), that's not in the spirit (of the process)."
The bottom line, he said, "We've got to get a corridor and protect it."

--- End quote ---

Above quote is from article talking about confusion that arose at the May 5 NLCOG Transportation Policy Committee meeting in which the Committee attempted to determine the current status of the Inner Loop Expressway Extension corridor:

--- Quote ---If you want to design a system that can give the illusion of planning without the fuss and bother of follow-through, look no further than Shreveport and Caddo Parish.
Taxpayers spent millions to extend the Inner Loop from Bert Kouns Industrial Loop to Flournoy Lucas Road only to leave the four-lane highway hanging. The Loops's next leap south is suspended in a concrete freeze frame, its path clouded by development.
The city also spent almost a half million dollars to secure 16 acres for the southern access at Flournoy Lucas Road, yet key planners for the Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments say there is no official route. "We're not preserving a corridor, we're preserving a patch of ground," as MPC planner Roy Jambor put it Thursday at NLCOG's Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Committee ....
As noted in this space last week, the uncertainty of the Inner Loop extension jeopardizes a decades-old plan for a complete, controlled-access highway around Shreveport-Bossier City ....
The Transportation Policy Committee chose not to act on a request by NLCOG Executive Director Kent Rogers to back up on its April 7 vote to explore an alternate Inner Loop corridor. Rogers wants to instead assess several corridor alternatives in order to move toward a definitive route ...

--- End quote ---

I hope this mess is not a preview of process for I-49 Inner-City Connector.


The Shreveport City Council is now getting involved and may seek public input ...

--- Quote --- ... [Shreveport City C]ouncil members will consider calling a meeting for public input into the future extension of La. Highway 3132 in southeast Shreveport, an area experiencing high-end residential growth.
A 1992 study mapped out a proposed path for the continuation of La. 3132 that would connect with the Interstate 69 corridor. The planned route now includes more than 40 homes within the Twelve Oaks subdivision, which Glover estimated would cost more than $15 million to acquire.
The Office of the Mayor has suggested redirecting the route of the extension to the northeast.
Other options could straighten the path out or adjust it to meander in a direction that has minimal impact on nearby subdivisions ...

--- End quote ---

Here is a TV news report with a video that provides a visual background of the evolving Inner Loop Extension controversy to go with the report:

And, there will be a public hearing in near future:

--- Quote ---The meeting is unscheduled but will be at LSU-Shreveport ... [City Councilman Michael] Corbin, who represents southeast Shreveport, said he's gotten more phone calls and emails about the situation than anything else since his council term started in November. He compared the trickle of information to removing an onion's skin.
"Every time you peel back another layer," Corbin said, "there's another layer behind it."

--- End quote ---


The public meeting will be this Thursday:


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