Highway 165 expansion complete
KINDER, LA (KPLC) - A ribbon cutting signifies the beginning of something new and now drivers will be able to travel on two new lanes on Highway 165 between Interstate 10 and Alexandria.
William Ankner, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, says, "This becomes a critical part for emergency evacuations as well as providing safe travel for our citizens and connecting communities."
The communities along the stretch of Highway 165 have felt the impacts of the expansion project, even before construction was complete.
Representative Dorothy Sue Hill says, "People ate in Kinder, Oberlin, and Oakdale. They also stayed in our motels and they shopped in our area so this helped."
Now that the work along the I-10 to Alexandria corridor is complete, businesses feel they will draw in more customers.
Bob Kingry, Owner of Chadeaux's Cajun Kitchen, says, "I think it's going to be a good deal for us. I can see a little impact in the recent months."
Fausto's Restaurant employee Breelynn Tyson says, "With the roads cleared it will be easier to travel off the highway to come get some food and just chill out."
As drivers travel down the expanded U.S 165, they'll notice the new highway includes part of the old highway. Ankner says this was all a part of their plan.
"We're tying that in. We're doing some of the final work, but there will be parts of it that will be the old roadway and that was part of the original plan to tie it in."
The $387 million project extends 78 miles. The plan is for U.S. 165 to connect with other major highways, like interstate 49 and ultimately to interstate 20 in Ruston and Monroe.
The 173 mile project to widen the entire Highway 165 corridor to the Arkansas border should be complete by the middle of 2010.
There are 28.5 remaining miles of highway still under construction.
(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)