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Author Topic: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles  (Read 8395 times)

Anthony_JK

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Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« on: January 28, 2009, 02:28:15 PM »

I noticed that AARoads hasn't had an update for quite a while on the I-49 South upgrade from Lafayette to New Orleans, so I thought that I'd offer one, as well as link a few articles of late concerning the current status of the project nearest and dearest to my heart (and region).

I will go from west to east segment wise:

I.  LAFAYETTE TO MORGAN CITY

1) Lafayette Urban Segment ("I-49 Connector"): Record of Decision signed and approved in 2003; currently in design and engineering stages, along with Context Sensitive Solutions design study still ongoing. Minimal funding for right-of-way acquisition, but no construction funding as of yet. Still a bit of a controversy over exact details of how elevated freeway will fill the footprint through Lafayette (locals want a consistent 30' spacing between structures to allow for more open natural lighting; Feds and LaDOTD wanted less spacing to keep within established ROW....still being resolved before CSS study can be completed).  Total cost: $350-400 million

2) I-49 South/US 90 Freeway Upgrade -- Lafayette Parish Suburban Segment (Lafayette Regional Airport to LA 88 Interchange): Record of Decision signed and approved in 2005; no immediate funds for full construction, but funding set for internim improvements to US 90, including widening from 4 to 6 lanes from the Vermillion River crossing to Broussard). Total cost: $300-350 million

3) US 90 Freeway Upgrade -- LA 88 (near New Iberia) to LA 182 (Wax Lake Outlet bridge): Nearly 85% complete, frontage road work in Iberia Parish and three interchanges in St. Mary Parish still needed (LA 85 interchange to be funded this year through the "stimulus package"; still need LA 318 and LA 182 (Calumet) intersections converted to interchanges) Also, study inniment on possiblility of raising section of US 90 near Franklin for flood control/hurricane evacuation. Total cost: $60-80 million, not including raised section study, which could add around $40 million if implemented)

4) I-49 South/US 90 Freeway Upgrade -- Wax Lake Outlet to Berwick/Morgan City: ROD signed and approved around 2005; now in design phase awaiting funding for construction. Total cost: ($115-140 million)

TOTAL COST FOR LAFAYETTE - MORGAN CITY SEGMENT OF I-49 SOUTH: $800 million to $1 trillion

[snip completed segment of US 90 freeway from Morgan City to Raceland]



II. RACELAND TO NEW ORLEANS  (LA 1/LA 308 to Westbank Expressway)

(This includes the realignment of I-310 to connect with I-49 as well as the new interchange proposed at the existing US 90/Westbank Expressway junction and the extension of the existing WB elevated structure.)

Record of Decision signed and approved in 2007; currently in design stage; no funding as of yet committed for construction.

Total cost: $4 BILLION (due mostly to the decision to elevate the entire segment for flood control and hurricane evacuation)


Total for the entire project: $5 TRILLION BILLION. Yeah, that steep...and worth every damn penny.

Now, for the articles:

Paving the way: Properties bought in future I-49 Connector's path (Lafayette Daily Advertiser)
http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090127/NEWS01/901270320

Jindal pledges support: Governor tells Chamber he's committed to improving I-49 (Lafayette Daily Advertiser)
http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009901230315

Legislators push for I-49 (Baton Rouge Advocate)
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/37485579.html?showAll=y&c=y

I-49 South interest revived (Baton Rouge Advocate)
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/34070574.html?showAll=y&c=y

Acadiana officials seek ways to complete I-49 South (Alexandria Town Talk)
http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20090113/NEWS01/901130325


Personally, I hope that they don't have to resort to tolls to fund the project....but if that's what it takes to get it done, then so be it.



Anthony


[Note: edited by me to correct final total..should be BILLION, not TRILLION...bad me.  :sombrero: :sombrero: :pan: :pan: :pan: :pan:]
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 11:20:48 PM by Anthony_JK »
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Urban Prairie Schooner

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 09:59:01 PM »

$5 trillion?  :confused: You mean billions, I assume? Those numbers hardly add up to trillions, thankfully. (But what with trillion dollar bailouts and future currency depreciation, what's a few trillion amongst friends? :))

"Why make trillions when you can make....billions?" - Dr. Evil :sombrero:

Maybe some more of the "stimulus" package could be sent down our way as a down payment of sorts on I-49 extension.

I'd like to know how much removing that tall radio tower/whatever it is smack in the middle of the future LA 85 interchange is going to cost. And I assume that most of the shoulderless bridges along the route are going to have to be replaced before the Feds allow I-49 signs to be posted.

As a stopgap, frontage roads should be constructed in the more developed areas (particularly Lafayette to New Iberia, land of a million curb cuts). US 90 should be expressway grade at minimum outside the urbanized areas. The highway was designed for high speed through travel, not for every suburban strip mall and outhouse to hang their shingle upon.

I sure hope the I-49 project doesn't die on the vine for lack of funding. For a freeway this length, a few billion dollars isn't all that much, though for public funding purposes seems insurmountable. My dream would be to see some entrepeneur bring private capital to the table for this project and prove once and for all that private highways are workable. Given the state of the commercial credit markets nowadays, though, even that seems increasingly unlikely. :no:
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 10:02:06 PM by Urban Prairie Schooner »
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flaroads

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 11:15:53 PM »

My personal opinion on the whole extension for I-49 south from Lafayette to New Orleans would be to NOT number it I-49, but rather I-6, as the route will pretty much contain an easterly-westerly component.  But as I know the government, we don't regulate any new interstate highways, just extend the existing ones.  If it is even completed, it could be a decade or so before seeing any interstate shields south of I-10.

And by the way, the entire project would cost $5 billion, not trillion as earlier stated.  :-o
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 11:18:06 PM »

OK...I did mean BILLION, not TRILLON...sorry about that.  :pan: :pan: :pan:


Anthony
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flaroads

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 11:23:31 PM »

I was just reading one of your links and saw that it was billion, not trillion.  Not a big deal.  I'm sure it really doesn't matter to the government nowdays either considering how much this country is in debt.  Of course if they were to just build as a long viaduct for it instead it could reach $5 trillion... :)
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 11:44:58 PM »


Maybe some more of the "stimulus" package could be sent down our way as a down payment of sorts on I-49 extension.

Main issue why more of the stimulus package money won't be used for I-49 South projects other than the US 90/LA 85 interchange/overpass is because that is the only project that would be available for letting within the 90-180 day period as required by the law. Only way they would be able to add more projects would be to extend that period.


Quote
I'd like to know how much removing that tall radio tower/whatever it is smack in the middle of the future LA 85 interchange is going to cost. And I assume that most of the shoulderless bridges along the route are going to have to be replaced before the Feds allow I-49 signs to be posted.

Since the legislation requires that US 90 has to be upgraded to Interstate standards before they can even place I-49 shields on the highway, I assume that the bridges will be widened to meet those standards.

And I assume that that radio tower, since it is within the ROW and would have to be removed to build the overpass structures, would more than likely be moved to another location.  I'm more interested, though, in how they are going to handle that at-grade crossing of that L&DRR rail spur that is just east of the LA 85 intersection...more than likely, they will have to extend the mainline overpasses to cross over the spur...only other option would be to abandon and dismantle it.

Quote
As a stopgap, frontage roads should be constructed in the more developed areas (particularly Lafayette to New Iberia, land of a million curb cuts). US 90 should be expressway grade at minimum outside the urbanized areas. The highway was designed for high speed through travel, not for every suburban strip mall and outhouse to hang their shingle upon.

The actual roadway from around Broussard to near Franklin was actually built for ultimate upgrade to freeway standards, with adequate ROW for both frontage roads and wide medians for overpasses at certain main intersections. As the sections in St. Mary and Iberia parishes were upgraded, frontage roads are being built to control access to traffic; the last contracts for letting to construct the last of those frontage roads will take place later this year. One way Texas-style frontage roads are planned for the segment through Lafayette Parish, and the existing Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette will act as a frontage road within the city of Lafayette. Frontage roads are also planned for the Wax Lake to Morgan City segment.

As for the Raceland to NO sections: since the proposed roadway will basically parallel US 90 most of the way, that latter road will act as the virtual frontage road, and in the section in New Orleans proper, a one-way access road system will be built for local access. The existing Westbank Expressway frontage system will be extended along with the elevated mainline.


Quote
I sure hope the I-49 project doesn't die on the vine for lack of funding. For a freeway this length, a few billion dollars isn't all that much, though for public funding purposes seems insurmountable. My dream would be to see some entrepeneur bring private capital to the table for this project and prove once and for all that private highways are workable. Given the state of the commercial credit markets nowadays, though, even that seems increasingly unlikely. :no:

Given the economic and political initiative for the project, and the fact that there is near unaminous support for the project overall, I fail to see how it won't ultimately get funded, by one way or another. If direct public funding through the gas tax doesn't suffice, there's always using a share of the oil revenues from offshore drilling or the "megaprojects" funding that could be used for state matching funding....and as a last resort, the toll option is also on the table.  Though, it would kinda suck due to the fact that I-49 North from Shreveport to the Arkansas state line managed to get full funding as a freeway, and to say to South Louisiana that they have to rely on tolls to fund their project would seem to me quite hypocritical. As for all-private highways: sorry, but the Trans-Texas Corridor fiasco has weaned me of any support for that concept. Besides, US 90 is a public highway which has already been halfway completed as a freeway; why not just take it the distance that way?


Anthony
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2009, 11:53:18 PM »

My personal opinion on the whole extension for I-49 south from Lafayette to New Orleans would be to NOT number it I-49, but rather I-6, as the route will pretty much contain an easterly-westerly component.  But as I know the government, we don't regulate any new interstate highways, just extend the existing ones.  If it is even completed, it could be a decade or so before seeing any interstate shields south of I-10.

And by the way, the entire project would cost $5 billion, not trillion as earlier stated.  :-o

Oh, you and Darkangel and that old saw about the number.... :colorful: :colorful: :poke: :poke: :poke:

I'm not so concerned about the number or the "wrong way" designation, because once I-49 is extended all the way to Kansas City, this small section will be dwarfed by the entire route.

The only way that I could justify the "I-6" (or Froggie's idea of rerouting I-10 along the corridor) would be if the Lafayette Metro (E)Xpressway loop section from I-10 west of Scott to US 90 southeast of Youngsville was incorporated into the project, and that section of I-49 South through Lafayette Parish was built as a seperate project. Otherwise, I could care less if it was designated as I-99S..as long as it gets built sometime within my lifetime.


Anthony
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Re: Louisiana: Some I-49 South Updates/Articles
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 10:22:54 PM »

I was just reading one of your links and saw that it was billion, not trillion.  Not a big deal.  I'm sure it really doesn't matter to the government nowdays either considering how much this country is in debt.  Of course if they were to just build as a long viaduct for it instead it could reach $5 trillion... :)

Well,  a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money  :-P
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