DOTD provides update on progress of I-49 Inner City Connector in Caddo Parish
Friday, April 21, 2017 at 4:37:30 PM
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) would like to provide the latest information regarding the I-49 Inner City Connector project in Shreveport, Caddo Parish.

The I-49 Inner City Connector will be a new interstate facility proposed to connect I-49 at the I-20 interchange with I-49 North in the vicinity of the I-220 interchange.

Members of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG) Transportation Policy Committee met April 20, 2017 to receive a project status update from Baton Rouge-based consulting firm Providence Engineering.

A representative of Providence Engineering told committee members that the Environmental Impact phase of the project is moving forward, with information and determinations requested of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

One of those determinations includes whether SWEPCO Park in Shreveport should be deemed a significant property based on criteria under Section 4(f).

- Section 4(f) property criteria under U.S. Dept. of Transportation Act of 1966:

o It must be publicly owned
o It must be open to the public (except in certain cases for refuges)
o Its major purpose must be for park, recreation, refuge activities
o It must be significant as a park, recreation area, or refuge

As part of this Environmental Impact phase, the City of Shreveport has determined that SWEPCO Park is not significant and plans to close the park based on its assessment as unsafe, no equipment is on site, and the community is served by other multi-use parks managed by the City.

FHWA will have to approve the City of Shreveport’s determination of SWEPCO Park.

A determination regarding whether Cross Lake meets the criteria to be labeled a Section 4(f) property was also requested of FHWA.

Providence Engineering conducted assessments on the I-49 Inner City Connector alternative routes, and recommends that two distinct build alternatives move forward for further study in the Environmental Impact phase.

Those include Alternative 1 (new roadway alignment adjacent to downtown Shreveport) and Alternative 5 (modification to an existing roadway/alignment that bypasses the downtown area).

Providence Engineering determined that Alternative 1 (with Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 removed from further study) was chosen due to fewer overall impacts to the community in terms of structures and community cohesion.

The firm’s assessment of the alternatives was submitted earlier this week to FHWA and DOTD for review and concurrence.

The next steps will be to receive from FHWA significance determinations for SWEPCO Park and Cross Lake, as well as a response on the alternative route assessments.

Providence Engineering will then compile a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will be available for public comment. This comment period will be followed by a public meeting.

Once the responses from the public comments and meeting are gathered, a final EIS will be developed and made available once again for public review.

The final EIS will then be compiled and a single preferred alternative route for the I-49 Inner City Connector will be selected.