NWLA leaders briefed on mega-projects

Leaders briefed on Mega Projects

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - They are the mega projects that will help shape the very future of north Louisiana.

Northwest Louisiana government leaders, in this council called NLCOG, got a briefing this Friday morning on 3 mega-projects, starting with the Highway 3132 (Inner Loop) extension.

It is intended to run another six miles southeast from its current end at Flournoy Lucas Road down to the future Interstate 69 interchange at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier.

Unfortunately, you won’t see them completed anytime soon. Government leaders on the local, state and federal levels did get a briefing on this Friday morning about the status of those giant projects.

Environmental Consultant Ed Elam made the presentation at this meeting, telling leaders why the extension is so important.

“To provide a more direct route for truck traffic coming to the port," Elam said. "And then also to address community concerns. There is a lot of truck traffic on Flournoy Lucas.”

It’s still in the Environmental Assessment stage, with more hearings and comments to come, which Elam described as a critical part of the process.

"This is a very public process. The document is put out so people can go and look at it for a prescribed period, usually 30 days."

Another mega project would be the Interstate 49 Port Connector Project along the I-69 Corridor.

Dr. Eric Kalivoda, deputy secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development said about the project that there’s really not enough dedicated funding remaining to construct any usable segment of the I-69 mainline.

NLCOG members did learn there is 16 million dollars available already to build a frontage road on the north side of I-69, connecting Stonewall-Frierson Road with Ellerbe Road, then buy-up the land south of that — to keep a path open until there’s enough money available to begin building I-69.

Bossier City Mayor Lorenz "Lo" Walker told us none of this will happen quickly.

“I-69′s going to come, someday — But, it’s about a 30 billion dollar project, or in that range. So, it’s going to be awhile.”

As for the third mega project discussed: the Interstate 49 Inner City Connector finds itself in much the same status as the Inner Loop Connector, where funding appears to be the biggest challenge by far.

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