Transforming Louisiana Transportation

February 27, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

There are signs and sounds of progress on U.S. 165.  Steve Busky, an engineer with the Louisiana TIMED Program says, "Instead of taking 850 days to complete the project, the contractor is estimating that he can complete the project within 425 days."

This accelerated pace means the two main highways, U.S. 171 and U.S. 165, which connect Southwest Louisiana to North Louisiana will be utilized much earlier than anticipated.  Busky says within the next three years the project is expected to be complete.

Originally, the TIMED Program was funded on a pay-as-you-go system, but in 2000, the program was converted to a bond-financed system.  Bryan Jones with the Louisiana TIMED Program says, "We were able to bond out the money, get the cash up front, and accelerate construction of the project."  Bonding out the money moves the completion date up by more than 20 years.

"The TIMED Program's mission," says Jones, "is to stimulate economic development across the state, so the sooner we were able to get these roads constructed, the sooner that businesses and residents will be able to begin utilizing these roadways and relocating their businesses and homes along these corridors."

Here's a look at some local projects of interest:

*On U.S. 171 (which will be a four-laned route from Lake Charles to Shreveport), the TIMED Project is 71 percent complete.
*On U.S. 165 (which will be a four-laned route from I-10 to Bastrop and then on U.S. 425 to the Arkansas state line), the project is 48 percent complete.

Busky says the typical wet Louisiana weather has been a problem at many construction sites.  "With the periodic rainfall on weekly occurrence," says Busky, "it's slowed down the earth-moving operations of the contractors tremendously."  Even with this setback, both U.S. 171 and U.S. 165 should be complete by the end of 2010.