03 June 2008

Rant: I-49 South Extension

I have a gripe with this. Specifically, the southern extension from Lafayette to New Orleans. I don't disagree with the need for the upgrade of US 90 between those two points to Interstate standards - those parts of Southern Louisiana are languishing, in part due to being so far away from an Interstate. No... I disagree with the number for it.

Extending I-49 south and east along that route would create a numbering violation, since I-49's "southern" terminus would be east of I-55. Also, it would be confusing, direction-wise. I-49 northbound would start by traveling SOUTH! If they tried a Michigan solution (something like I-69 going from signed N-S to signed W-E), then the exit numbering would go backwards, increasing as you go west.

I don't take credit for the number it should be, but I do take credit for the sine.

My solution?

There's some good reasons why I-49's southern extension should be I-6. First off, it would fit nicely in the grid. It would exist wholly south of I-10. Latitude-wise, it would exist between I-8 and I-4. The small jog back westbound (assuming US 90 Business (Westbank/NO)/I-910 was used) would be nowhere near as confusing as the long southwesterly jog down to Houma and Morgan City before taking a northerly slant to Lafayette. The exit numbering could then run in a conventional direction, from west terminus to east terminus. As well, there is precedent for two Interstates in Louisiana sharing a terminus. I-12 and I-59 share a common terminus in Slidell. So too could I-49 and I-6. The fact that the two Interstates would be on the mainline going north-south through the cloverleaf that is I-49's current southern terminus means one wouldn't have to weave to "stay on the Interstate."

So in conclusion, down with I-49 South. Long live Interstate 6!


Froggie said...

I like my idea better...reroute I-10 onto "49 South" and extend I-12.

Though it'll confuse the hell out of people who've gotten used to taking just "I-10 between NOLA and Baton Rouge"...

Taralyn said...

I read that idea, and it turned me on to using an E-W number for the segment. The confusion factor is why I decided on a different number, however. It wouldn't require any renumbering of existing routes other than the new Interstate. It also wouldn't require renumbering all the exits on I-49 from Lafayette northward.

Froggie said...

I'll admit, a brand new Interstate number would be less confusing. The reason I suggested an I-10 reroute and an I-12 extension is in part due to the critics who complain that I-12 is "too short to be a 2di"...

Taralyn said...

To that, I say: I-97.

Anthony Kennerson said...


Now, if the proposed Lafayette Metro Expressway tollway (especially the southwest segment between I-10 and Future I-49 South/US 90) could be designated as an Interstate highway (or better yet, built as a free facility), then your proposed "I-6" (and Froggie's idea of rerouting I-10 down proposed I-49 South) could be much more feasible.

Problem is, the designation of the US 90 upgrade as I-49 is already committed as federal law.

Plus...what would you do with the segment of proposed I-49 South through Lafayette?? Keeping it as "I-6" would probably run into the same issue of continuity, since the roadway would run basically north-south through Lafayette. And, you would still have to adjust the exit numbers, anyway.

Personally, I could care less what it is called...as long as it gets built...and the sooner the better.