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Shreveport Debates a Highway Proposal

Strong Towns is rolling out an in-depth analysis of a controversial proposal in Shreveport, Louisiana to build a new connector for Interstate 49 North in the heart of the city.
February 22, 2017, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Andrei Tudoran

"For the past seven years, a David & Goliath struggle has taken place in Shreveport—Louisiana’s third largest city—over a proposal to build a 3.6 mile long innercity connector (ICC) for Interstate 49 North," writes Jennifer Hill.

Hill sets an examination of the proposal's planning and route alternatives amongst the political context of Shreveport. According to Hill, "both sides—those for its construction and those against it—see the I-49 ICC having long-term ramifications for Shreveport as a city."

The proposal is currently in limbo, as the Providence Engineering Group, hired to conduct in-depth studies of the proposal, has been unable to reduce five route alternatives down to two preferred options. According to a spokesperson, the company doesn't think the route would pass Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to Hill's explanation, "[a]ll five routes had public structures or spaces, such as historical landmarks, parks and churches, which cannot legally be removed, harmed or destroyed in order to allow a federal highway to be built."

Hill goes on to examine the debate surrounding the I-49 ICC proposal in more detail, placing it context of the current thinking about downtown highways as a benefit or an obstacle to economic development.

Hill's article is part of a series of articles and coverage from Strong Towns on the subject of the I-49 ICC proposal. 

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Published on Monday, February 20, 2017 in Strong Towns
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