Interstate 49 in Louisiana
|Maintained by Louisiana Department of Transportation|
|Length:||208.25 mi (335.15 km)|
|Existed:||1984 – present|
|South end:||I-10 / US 167 in Lafayette|
|North end:||I-20 in Shreveport|
Interstate 49 (I-49) is an Interstate Highway whose southern section is located in the state of Louisiana in the southern United States. Its southern terminus is in Lafayette, at Interstate 10 while its northern terminus is in Shreveport, at Interstate 20. It was an intrastate Interstate Highway prior to December 12, 2012, when I-49 designation was officially approved for an upgraded US-71 between Kansas City, Missouri and Joplin, Missouri. Portions of the remaining roadway, which will link Kansas City with New Orleans are in various stages of planning or construction.
 Route description
I-49 begins its journey in Lafayette concurrent with U.S. Route 167 from I-10 to Opelousas at Exit 23. At Lafayette, motorists continuing southbound see the interstate highway change to U.S. 90 (Evangeline Thruway), a major thoroughfare taking travelers towards the heart of Lafayette. North of Lafayette, motorists on I-49 will parallel the ancient Mississippi river bed north of Carencro, and through Grand Coteau, just south of Opelousas.
After leaving Opelousas, I-49 traverses the relatively flat, fertile farmlands until reaching Alexandria. From there, the highway roughly follows the Red River and Louisiana 1, bypassing the historic city of Natchitoches to the west on its way to Shreveport. At Shreveport, the highway parallels a railroad line just to the west until its terminus at I-20 southwest of downtown.
The heaviest traffic on I-49 occurs within the cities of Shreveport and Opelousas. The stretch of freeway in Shreveport sees an average of 70,000 vehicles per day, while the stretch of freeway between Lafayette and Carencro sees an average of 55,000 vehicles per day, and the stretch of freeway through Opelousas sees an average of 45,000 vehicles per day between the Judson Walsh Drive and Creswell Lane exits.
The original plans for Interstate Highways in Louisiana only included Interstates 10 and 20 with no connection in between. After Interstate 55 was added in the 1950s, the state considered building a toll road to connect I-10 in southwestern Louisiana and I-20 in the northern part of the state, but later rejected the idea.
In the mid 1970s, The Federal Highway Administration approved an Interstate Highway to run between I-10 and I-20, beginning at I-10 in Lafayette and ending at I-20 in Shreveport. The mileage was gained from mileage released from other highways the states did not build as well as 153 miles (246 km) from a supplemental reserve.
Construction of I-49 began in the early 1980s, the first signed segment from I-10 to Washington, Louisiana, opened in 1984. After several delays, most of the highway was open by the early 1990s. The entire length of the 212-mile (341 km) road was completed May 1, 1996 when a 16.6-mile (26.7 km) section of highway in Alexandria named the Martin Luther King Jr. Highway was completed. The total cost of I-49's construction was about $1.38 billion.
 Future expansion
Interstate 49 North is a 36-mile construction project that will connect I-220 in Shreveport to the Arkansas state line. This project has been divided into 11 segments. Of the 11 segments, 4 are complete and 5 are under construction As of November 2012[update] and $460 million of $622 million needed to complete the project has been secured.
State transportation officials are currently working on plans to extend Interstate 49 to the south and east, from Lafayette to New Orleans roughly following the path of the current U.S. 90, which is at present a four-lane divided highway between the two cities. However, from Morgan City to near Raceland, U.S. 90 is an interstate-standard freeway, bypassing Houma to the north.
In the Lafayette area, the project is divided into two projects, the I-49 Connector and the rest of the interstate from the Lafayette Regional Airport to LA 88. The I-49 Connector has a record of decision and is currently in the process of formulating the Environmental Impact Study. It is planned to be a six-lane elevated freeway, passing to the West of the current Evangeline Thruway corridor, as to be closer to the Central Business District in Downtown Lafayette. The rest of the freeway from the airport to LA 88 will be an at grade six-lane freeway with a two mile (3 km) segment of eight-lane elevated freeway through the suburb of Broussard.
In the immediate New Orleans area, I-49 is planned to follow the route of the U.S. 90 Business (also known locally as the Westbank Expressway) through Westwego, Gretna and across the Crescent City Connection into downtown New Orleans, ending at I-10. "Future I-49" signage is visible along U.S. 90 and U.S. 90 Business, although as of 2010, construction has yet to begin.
In addition to the southeastward extension, Louisiana officials are also working on clearing, grubbing and drainage for the new extension from Shreveport to the Arkansas line. The construction roughly parallels U.S. 71 northward from I-220. In Shreveport, I-49 is also proposed to be rerouted along Louisiana 3132/Inner Loop Expressway and concurrent with I-220 from I-20 to its proposed alignment near U.S. 71. The stretch of the current I-49 between the Inner Loop and I-20 is likely to become an interstate spur. Plans are underway to connect I-49 at the I-20 interchange with I-49 North in the vicinity of the I-220 interchange.
 Exit list
|Lafayette||Lafayette||US 167 south – Lafayette||Continuation beyond I-10|
|1A-B||I-10 – Baton Rouge, Lake Charles||Signed as Exits 1A (east) and 1B (west)|
|1C||Pont des Mouton Road|
|2||LA 98 (Gloria Switch Road)|
|Carencro||4||LA 726 – Carencro|
|St. Landry||Grand Coteau||11||LA 93 – Sunset, Grand Coteau|
|Opelousas||15||LA 3233 (Harry Guilbeau Road)|
|17||Judson Walsh Drive|
|18||LA 31 (Creswell Lane)|
|19||US 190 – Baton Rouge, Port Barre, Opelousas||Signed as exits 19A (east) and 19B (west) northbound|
|23||US 167 north / LA 744 – Ville Platte||North end of US 167 overlap|
|Washington||25||LA 103 – Washington, Port Barre|
|27||LA 10 – Lebeau, Washington|
|Evangeline||No major junctions|
|St. Landry||40||LA 29 – Ville Platte|
|Evangeline||No major junctions|
|Avoyelles||46||LA 106 – St. Landry|
|53||LA 115 – Bunkie|
|Rapides||56||LA 181 – Cheneyville|
|61||US 167 – Turkey Creek, Meeker|
|66||LA 112 – Forest Hill, Lecompte|
|73||LA 3265 / PR 22 – Woodworth|
US 167 south / US 71 / US 167 Bus. north (MacArthur Drive)
|South end of US 167 overlap; southbound exit to US 71 north is via exit 81|
|Alexandria||81||LA 3250 (Sugarhouse Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
LA 1 / LA 28 Bus. / Casson Street
|Southbound exit is via exit 85A. LA 1 southbound is also the Zachary Taylor Parkway, which starts here.|
|84||US 167 north / LA 28 east (Pineville Expressway)||North end of US 167 overlap; south end of LA 28 overlap|
|85A||M.L. King Drive, Elliott Street – Downtown Alexandria|
|85B||Monroe Street, Medical Center Drive||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|86||US 71 / US 165 / LA 28 west (MacArthur Drive) – Fort Polk, Leesville|
|90||LA 498 (Alexandria International Airport access)|
|94||PR 23 (Rapides Station Road)|
|98||LA 1 – Boyce||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|99||LA 8 east / LA 1200 – Boyce||South end of LA 8 overlap|
|103||LA 8 west – Flatwoods||North end of LA 8 overlap|
|Natchitoches||113||LA 490 – Chopin|
|119||LA 119 – Cloutierville|
|127||LA 120 – Flora, Cypress|
|Natchitoches||132||LA 478 / PR 620|
|138||LA 6 – Many, Natchitoches|
|142||PR 547 (Posey Road)|
|148||LA 485 – Allen, Powhatan|
|155||LA 174 – Ajax, Lake End|
|De Soto||162||US 371 / LA 177 – Pleasant Hill, Coushatta|
|172||US 84 – Mansfield, Grand Bayou|
|177||LA 509 – Carmel|
|186||LA 175 – Kingston, Frierson|
|191||LA 3276 / PR 16 – Stonewall|
|Shreveport||199||LA 526 (Bert Kouns Industrial Loop)|
|201||LA 3132 (Inner Loop Expressway) – Dallas, Texarkana|
|202||LA 511 (East 70th Street)|
|203||Hollywood Avenue, Pierremont Road|
|206||I-20 – Dallas, Monroe Pete Harris Drive, Murphy Street||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
- "FHWA Route Log and Finder List: Table 1". Federal Highway Administration. October 31, 2002. Retrieved March 28, 2007.
- "Missouri getting new interstate, at least in name". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, MO). Associated Press. September 4, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- "Previous Facts of the Day". 50th Anniversary Interstate Highway System. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
- "I-49 North". Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
- "Louisiana @ SouthEastRoads - Interstate 49 Northbound (Shreveport Vicinity)". Southeastroads.com. 2004-02-27. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- [dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Interstate 49|
- Interstate Guide: I-49
- I-49 Energy Corridor
- I-49 North (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development)
- I-49 Report
- I-49 Inner-City Connector-Shreveport
- I-49 Inner City Connector map (Shreveport, LA)
- I-49 Connector (Lafayette, LA)
- Future I-49 South Pictures (Stephen Gantry)
- Future I-49 South Pictures (Andy P. Jung)