Bastrop, LA - Today, Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri H. LeBas announced the completion of one of the final projects in the $936 million U.S. 165 TIMED corridor improvement program. The completion of U.S. 425 from Bastrop to Log Cabin project widens 220 miles of U.S. 165 to four lanes from Lake Charles to the Arkansas State line. Secretary LeBas was joined by state and local officials for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
U.S. 165 becomes U.S. 425 in Bastrop, Louisiana. The $31.8 million U.S. 425 project widened the highway from two to four lanes. The only remaining work to be done is the $82.9 million Fort Buhlow Bridge project that is scheduled to complete in 2014.
Governor Jindal said, "With this completion, we’ve four-laned 220 miles of road from the Southwest portion of our state all the way up to the Arkansas boarder. That means businesses and commuters all throughout the state will have better access to our communities. Since taking office, we have invested an historic $4.1 billion in the improvement of our roadways, and we will continue to build on this progress and improve our infrastructure in order to create more jobs and opportunities for Louisiana families."
The start date for the first segment of U.S. 165 was in October 1991 (Woodworth to La. 488). The TIMED improvements were constructed in 28 separate projects. Work on the final portion of U.S. 165, widening 5.9 miles of U.S. 425 from Bastrop to Log Cabin, began in July 2008.
"The widening of U.S. 165, which traverses a significant portion of the state, will improve highway safety and accommodate the transportation needs of businesses and residents alike," said DOTD Secretary LeBas.
U.S. 165 is a vital corridor providing access to Interstate 10 in Lake Charles, Interstate 49 in Alexandria and Interstate 20 in Monroe. Widening this segment will benefit major industries such as DG Foods, Jireh Plastic & Assemblies and Morehouse General Hospital, and will attract new business opportunities.
"Morehouse General Hospital is proud to be the healthcare provider for Morehouse Parish and its residents for over 80 years. Our mission is to provide the highest quality and most cost effective care which sustains and improves the health of all those we serve. With the grand opening of the U.S. 165 Corridor, access to emergency assistance and healthcare providers will be significantly improved. The extension will allow Morehouse General Hospital to be the regional center of choice for those individuals in need of the health care services we offer in northeast Louisiana and southeast Arkansas. We support and thank the Louisiana Department of Transportation for completing this particularly essential highway project," said Stephen Pitts, Chief Executive Officer, Morehouse General Hospital.
"I appreciate Governor Jindal’s support to improve U.S. 165, not only is it a benefit to our community, but it will expand both local and regional access which will help to strengthen economic development across the state," said Steve Gillikin, President, Rimcor Incorporated.
"The improvements along this corridor will help stimulate economic growth throughout the state by providing improved access for delivery of goods and increased business reach and accessibility," said Senator Mike Walsworth.
"Business will certainly benefit from the increased capacity, and their employees will experience improved travel times and increased safety," said Senator Francis Thompson.
"U.S. 165 is a critical road in our state. Widening the highway from I-10 all the way to the Arkansas State line will provide tremendous help to our businesses and industries that depend on it for their livelihood," said Representative Charles R. Chaney
"Additionally, expanding U.S. 165 to four lanes provides safer, more efficient travel for motorists and an improved evacuation route for motorists," said Morehouse Parish President Terry Mathews.
At the ceremony, Secretary LeBas highlighted the state’s $41 million investment in Morehouse Parish since the Jindal administration has taken office including $1.9 million in state surplus funds to replace three aging drainage canal bridges on La. 3051.
George Swift, President/CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said, "This long-awaited completion will tie the northeast and southwest regions together. This new corridor opens up this side of the state for transportation, shipping, and tourism."
Jim Clinton, President and CEO of Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance said, "This $936 million investment provides essential connectivity for Central Louisiana to the port system in Lake Charles and to the agricultural industry in northeast Louisiana. This will build not only our local economy but better connect us to the resources across our great state and the country."
"As our community continues to grow and prosper, we commend the foresight of our state leadership in helping to accommodate that growth. On behalf of the citizens of Bastrop, I wish to express our appreciation for the improved access to our city through this corridor. We welcome the economic growth that will follow the hard work of this project," said Mayor Betty Alford-Olive.
The Louisiana TIMED Program is overseen by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). The TIMED Program is the single largest transportation program in state history. The TIMED Program was created by Act 16 of the 1989 Louisiana Legislature and was voted for by the people. Since January 2008, $238 million has been expended in TIMED funds along US 165.
The $4.6 billion improvement program includes widening 536 miles of state highways to four lanes on 11 project corridors, widening and/or new construction on three major bridges, and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong International Airport. The program is improving the quality of life for motorists, residents, and businesses by enhancing economic development through an investment in transportation projects.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).