Revising plans to put some elevated sections of I-49 on grade is crucial to Louisiana finding a way to fund the conversion of 160 miles of U.S. 90 from Lafayette to New Orleans into an interstate-quality roadway.
“I-49 is the single most important infrastructure project right now in the state of Louisiana,” State Treasurer John Kennedy told I-49 supporters earlier this month. “We can't rely on the fairy godmother (in Washington, D.C.) anymore.”
A department of transportation study resulted in revising plans for the transformation of 11 miles of U.S. 90 in St. Mary Parish and 36 miles across Lafourche, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes that would lower total costs there from $5.2 billion to $1.5 billion.
State transportation officials are lobbying to spend what is expected to be a state budget surplus on the project, and using tolls on the new road is also a funding possibility.