New I-49 Connector Shreveport Route Subject of Tuesday Meeting
There has been a lot of discussion about the I-49 connector, which will join the sections of I-49 that runs down from Texarkana, to the section that picks up right at I-20 and runs south. To say there’s been a lot of discussion is an understatement... it’s been discussed ad nauseum. It’s time to get this project underway and finished.
If you have an opinion on the new proposed route, please plan to attend the Open House about the I-49 Inner City Connector tommorow, Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 3:30-6:30 pm at the Shreveport Convention Center. The meeting is for input on the ‘build alternatives’ for the I-49 inner city connector which includes the latest proposed route, Alternate 3A. At the meeting, you will be allowed to write comments to be put into the official record, and you will have ten days to email comments afterward.
According to the Downtown Development Authority website:
Alternate 3A was created because of issues that the project had run into on other routes, but 3A creates significant problems of its own. Opposition to 3A so far includes the Downtown Development Authority(DDA), the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation(DSDC), the Shreveport Water Works and Shreveport Railroad Museums and others. The DDA/DSDC shared our feelings in January to all members of the Board of Directors of the NLCOG (North Louisiana Council of Governments) and the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization).
The meandering route goes over Twelve Mile Bayou and Cross Bayou, then right over the McNeil Street Pumping Station/Shreveport Water Works Museum, a 136-year-old National Historic Landmark, which also has the rare distinction of being a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and a Historic American Water Landmark. “Today, the entire physical plant (pumps, filters and other machinery) remains in place after more than 100 years of service and is a rare example of an intact steam water works, ” says the SWWM website. The plant is so unique that the Smithsonian Institute has visited more than once. “It is believed by the Smithsonian to be the last operating steam powered municipal water works in America.”
According to the map of Alternate 3A provided by NLCOG and Providence Engineering, the interstate will go over the Ozone Room and other out buildings and through the front entrance of the museum, putting the high speed interstate just feet from the front door.
Just to the south, proposed alternate 3A runs adjacent to the City of Shreveport’s Choice Neighborhoods Bayou Grande Apartments. This was a fiercely competitive multi-year grant process in which the City of Shreveport prevailed in winning a $24.2m grant from the federal government to create housing and workforce development along the west edge of downtown’s Central Business District, Allendale and Ledbetter Heights. 122 additional housing units and commercial space that are part of the Bayou Grande apartment phase of the project are expected to be available in 2023. The 3A high speed on ramps are planned to take up a large expanse of Caddo Street for several blocks east of Common and will run through a residential neighborhood, now filled with children.
The proposed route also impacts developable tracts along historic Cross Bayou.
Please attend the Oct. 17 meeting at the Shreveport Convention Center to learn more about 3A and the other routes, and leave a comment regarding your thoughts on the ICC.