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Students envision a new I-49 connector - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Students envision a new I-49 connector

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RUSTON, La. -

A group of Louisiana Tech students recently pulled an all-nighter, brainstorming a new plan for the I-49 connector, which will cut directly through a large portion of Shreveport's old residential areas such as Allendale. It's part of a project for class, but they've planned something radically new that promises the city more than just a new stretch of highway. They've designed a new plan that brings travelers together with the community and 21 century infrastructure to Shreveport.

"This is not a true interstate," student Lonnie Patrick said. "This becomes a boulevard."

Patrick says plans include a new parkway that connects 1-49 to Common Street, then to North Market and finally to I-220.

"We've created different elements in this to help slow traffic down to make people slow down and look at what they are passing through instead of just running through it quickly," Patrick said.

Students envision green spaces and parks along the roadway. North Market becomes a thriving center for new business growth and community gathering space.

"It allows the city to rebuild upon itself," Patrick said. "Instead of expanding out and sending business outside of the city."

Mason Nabors says the roadway will be extremely pedestrian friendly and will include utilities like broadband and fiber optics the entire length for easy access.

"We decided to design what is called a street case or multi-utility tunnel and begin to combine and integrate these utilities all into one," Nabors said.

Things like solar energy infrastructure, bike lanes and other modern needs will be built.

"We want to give people an incentive to remain living here, move back to the area and bring new residents to the area, make our city more competitive," Nabors said.

The students will continue to work on their project into the fall semester. City input was included in the project and isn't a replacement for the state's plans for I-49.


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