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New section of I-49 to open this month - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

New section of I-49 to open this month

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CADDO PARISH, La. -

Central Caddo Parish is one step closer to having interstate access. A new section of I-49 is set to open before the end of November.

It is an 18-mile stretch from North Market Street to Highway 71 in between Hosston and Gilliam. This section of the new interstate will take drivers through a rural part of Caddo Parish with four exits, but so far no new businesses near those exits.

One hardware store manager near the intersection of Highway 71 looks forward to I-49 opening.

"It's going to make travel from Shreveport up into Arkansas and places beyond a whole lot easier and quicker," said Scott Brown, manager of Gilliam Service and Supply. "And it will take a lot of traffic off of 71."

The traffic on Highway 71 consists of a few cars and a lot of 18-wheelers. This road is the main shipping route for companies in Shreveport to get their goods to Texarkana and vice versa.

"It's like I-20 down to two lanes just rolling up and down Highway 71," said Brown. "Probably not that much traffic but it sure seams like it."

"It's definitely going to make a smoother route for people to get through because it's an interstate," said Susan Stafford, DOT's public information officer. "You're going to be able to go faster, you've got more lanes.The route from north to south is just going to be a lot easier once this section opens up."

Even though most of the traffic will be gone from in front of brown's store, he does not believe the opening of I-49 will hurt this hardware business.

"Our business is 99 percent local," he said. "It should not affect anything. If anything, it might make it a little more comfortable for folks to come visit."

The date for the grand opening of this section is not yet set. The Department of Transportation continues to work out the details.

The four mile stretch between North Market Street and MLK Blvd is still under construction. As is the final segment north to the Arkansas state line.

DOT plans to open it about the same time Arkansas opens their section.

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