St. Charles Parish residents get first glimpse of I-49

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 1, 2007

Interstate I-49 will run from Lafourche through St. Charles and into Jefferson Parishes


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – State officials held a public hearing Tuesday for a proposed 38.6-mile route for Interstate 49 that would run from Lafourche Parish to Jefferson Parish, and gave St. Charles residents their first glimpse of the highway.

The public meeting offered residents an opportunity to voice their suggestions about the highway, which will go on a draft environmental impact statement that must be submitted to federal officials before a record of decision will be granted to allow the highway project to move forward, according to Project Manager Mike Aghayan.

Since the highway’s inception three years ago, the State Department of Transportation has already narrowed its original 20 routes to one preferred alternative that will force the relocation of 12 homes and four businesses by the highway’s completion in 2030, Aghayan said.

&#8220I think we have taken every precaution to accommodate the least amount of relocation,” he said. &#8220We think the preferred alternative is doable, the least damaging and the most practical.”

The 36.3 mi. preferred alternative would begin at Bayou Lafourche near Raceland in Lafourche Parish and eventually end at the Westbank Expressway near Ames Blvd. in Jefferson Parish. An extension of Interstate 310 to an interchange with Interstate 49 would add an additional 2.3 miles of highway. s

But the preferred alternative can only come to fruition if the State Department of Transportation can obtain the necessary $5.3 billion in financing to support the project. None of that funding has been granted by the federal government yet, but officials expect to seek that money once the draft environmental impact statement is complete later this year.

The meeting gave residents an opportunity to see seven large maps of the proposed route, view a computer-generated model of highway traffic, watch a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation outlining the specifics of the project, commit their comments to record by speaking with a court reporter or writing them out and the opportunity to discuss property set for relocation.

The final public meeting for the highway’s environmental impact statement was held Thursday in Raceland, but residents who wish to put their comments on record may do so by mailing them by April 9, 2007 to Ms. Noel Ardoin, Environmental Engineer Administrator,La. Department of Transportation and Development, P.O. Box 94245, Baton Rouge, La. 70804-9245.

More detailed information on the highway can be found on-line at

&#8220This project is going to bring economic opportunities and double the capacity of evacuation routes,” Aghayan said. &#8220There is a national interest and the interstate is a tremendous boost to our national highway system.”