This report is from a daytrip with fellow "roadgeek" Alex Nitzman (of the aaroads.com conglomorate) through the Mississippi Gulf Coast and southeastern Louisiana on November 12, 1999.
Alex Nitzman (the Roaddog) and I took a quick 1-day trip over into Louisiana
on Friday. The primary purpose was to get exit info on US 90 across Acadia and
I-110 in Baton Rouge for upcoming exit lists, although there were certainly
plenty of roadgeek-type sights along the way. Some observations:
- Cones are out for the next section of 6-laning on I-10 in Biloxi (MP 40 to I-110).
- Westbound on MS 607 at MS 604 is an I-10 shield with Mississippi printed about the 10.
- MS 607 disappears between I-10 and the north end of Stennis Space Center, although it USED to be MS 607. This section also used to be part of US 90 before the Pearl River and Lake Pontchartrain bridges were built.
- There is a neat drawbridge along (former) MS 607 within the southern confines of Stennis Space Center. Unfortunately for bridgegeeks, the only way you can get in to see it is by being active duty military or otherwise somehow associated with the base.
- US 90 has two bridges crossing parts of Lake Pontchartrain. Both are steel truss and VERY narrow, to the point where the speed limit on both bridges is 25 MPH. Alex has pics.
- The all-text green JCT US 11 sign is still on US 90. Alex missed his pic chance (due to construction in the area), but I have a shot of it from a previous trip.
- The US 11 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain is open again. It had been closed during my last trip back in late March for resurfacing.
- The section of I-10 between I-510/LA 47 and Lake Pontchartrain is signed 60 MPH. It had been 70 MPH.
- There are control cities along the Westbank: New Orleans and Harahan.
- The ROW along the Westbank Expressway is cleared from the end of the current freeway near Ames Blvd almost all the way to US 90. The current interchange with US 90 is interesting alone in that the WB Westbank to EB US 90 intersects the WB US 90 to EB Westbank with stop signs.
- The Huey P. Long Bridge is very interesting. The railroad trestle starts long before the roadbridge does on both sides. Also, the traffic lanes are very narrow. The speed limit is 45 MPH and trucks are to use the right lane only. This will be a very difficult bridge to replace.
- On the north end of the Long Bridge, the US 90/LA 48/LA 3152 junction is a combination interchange/traffic circle which is confusing to navigate.
- LA 3139/Earhart Expressway is a curiosity. It only appears on the RMcN as a grey line, although the NG correctly shows it as a freeway. For the most part, it is a 6-lane freeway (although not I-grade) that runs from the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line west to LA 3154, about 4 miles. In addition to the half-interchanges (and one full interchange at LA 3152), it has a slew of ghost ramps. The question Alex and I have (and maybe Andy Jung can answer this) is was LA 3139 going to be part of a larger New Orleans freeway/expressway system?
- Two of the ramps at the I-310/US 61 interchange (WB-SB and EB-NB) could be contenders for the "tallest interchange" thread. My guess is that they're each at least 120 feet high.
- Resurfacing work had the I-310 Mississippi River bridge down to 1 lane each direction, utilizing the shoulder.
- Some sections of US 90 between I-310 and Raceland look like they could be easily upgradeable for I-49. Others would need to be bypassed.
- Even though the freeway section is complete, signage still has US 90 getting off at the LA 3198 interchange, with the freeway still signed as LA 3052. This is not corrected until one gets on the newer sections west of LA 311.
- A lot of empty signposts and gantries along the freeway. Also some long bridge sections.
- From Morgan City to Centerville will be difficult to upgrade due to nearby development and numerous access points.
- A lot of Future I-49 Corridor signs along the corridor.
- US 90 between Centerville and the southern outskirts of the Lafayette area was built as easily upgradeable partial-access expressway. A lot of it has frontage roads. Also, at a lot of the major intersections, the mainlines swing out wide enough to accommodate future bridges, as if the mainline itself will become the interchange ramps. This is already being done at two locations (LA 3211 near Franklin, and the Port of Iberia intersection).
- US 90/167 goes through the middle of Lafayette on a pair of one-way city streets. Although there are still Future I-49 corridor signs posted, it's too early to tell if I-49 will bypass Lafayette to the east, or plow through along the existing corridor.
- NB and SB I-110 combined in Baton Rouge has *8* separate exits in the first mile-and-a-half alone.
- I-110 is 6 lanes (up to LA 19), and over half of it is elevated.
- 4-level stack interchange at I-110 and US 61/190.
- The US 190 bridge across the Mississippi is similar to the Huey P. Long Bridge in that it has a railroad line running along the middle of the bridge.
- There's a short freeway stretch along US 61/190, running roughly a mile either side of I-110. The NG erroneously has this freeway extending west across the Mississippi to LA 1.
- Both the NG and RMcN have the LA 19 exit on I-110 mislabeled as Exit 8A. In reality, it is Exit 8, and is a half-interchange to/from the SOUTH. The end of I-110 at US 61 is signed as Exit 8A/8B (incorrectly marked as 8B/8C in NG, not marked in RMcN).
- The I-10/I-12 construction is mostly completed.
- As a general rule, the pavement on I-12 is in rather good condition, certainly better than the average Louisiana Interstate.
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