Length: 22.81 alone, about 31 miles total
Southern terminus: JCT US 90 in eastern New Orleans
Northern terminus in La.: MS stateline north of Pearl River (cosigned with I-59)
Parishes: Or, St T
Multilane sections: Pontchartrain Blvd. and Front St. in Slidell, and on multiplexed section with IH 59 (duh)
Multiplexes: Business US 190 on Front Street in Slidell (?); I-59 Pearl River to MS border
Once the major route from New Orleans to Birmingham, the Appalachians, and the major urban areas of the East Coast, US 11 is throughout most of its route today a quiet, dying highway serving mostly local traffic, bypassed by interstates through much of its length. In Louisiana, at the southern end of its thousand-mile trek, it is no different. Today US 11’s routing in La. has been replicated by the faster I-10 and I-59, therefore relegating to it the status of de facto interstate business route. In fact, 11 is now multiplexed with 59 from Pearl River to the MS border. Much of 11 is a quiet road now, with the exception of the Slidell section, where it remains a primary surface arterial for the rapidly growing Slidell suburban area, though not as important as US 190.
At Slidell, three consecutive highway numbers can be found: I-10, US 11, and I-12.
US 11 is an original 1926 route, but it did not enter Louisiana, ending instead at US 90 in Santa Rosa, MS, near the present Stennis Space Center. In those days it was 90 that followed the routing of 11 through Slidell and Pearl River; the road between the Rigolets and Pearlington did not come into existence until the late 1920’s, though US 90 was apparently not immediately moved onto it. When 90 was relocated in 1937, US 11 was brought into La. Its original southern terminus in La. was in central New Orleans, probably at the intersection of Canal and Broad. It then left N.O. to the east cosigned with US 90. The original routing had it multiplexed with 90 to just past the Rigolets bridge, then along 90’s former alignment (LA 433/Old Spanish Trail) into Slidell. The Pontchartrain Toll Bridge, opened in 1928, was acquired by the state and made a free bridge in 1938. US 11 was routed along it and the roads joining to it ca. 1941, a routing it retains today. The multiplex with 90 to N.O. was eliminated in 1951, and US 11 was cut back to its present terminus.
From the present LA 433 junction in Slidell, pre-1941 US 11 joined the present alignment, and followed it to Pearl River. In Pearl River, US 11 followed present LA 3081, continuing on the line paralleling the mainline railroad tracks. It crossed the West Pearl River just west of the present interstate bridge on a crossing that is no more. From this point 11 followed an alignment into MS that took it on an easterly line, in a different direction from the railroad mainline, which the interstate follows. This alignment is no longer part of 11, as the route was moved onto I-59 rather early on—I-59 from Slidell to MS was one of the first interstates completed in La., in the late 50’s. However the old alignment is still drivable and is accessible from the interstate at exit 5B (Honey Island Swamp). It is a lonely drive through swampland to the end of the road, where the bridge that once crossed the Pearl River, taking US 11 drivers into Mississippi, used to be.
Length: 69.01 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 61 Laplace
Northern terminus in La.: MS border north of Kentwood
Parishes: St JB, Tan
Multilane sections: Laplace, JCT US 61 to JCT I-55; along multiplexed portion with I-55 from Laplace to Pontchatoula
Multiplexes: I-55, north of Laplace to Pontchatoula; LA 10, Arcola to Fluker
US 51 is another US route in La. superseded by an interstate. It was the primary route for decades from New Orleans to central Mississippi, including Jackson; northern Mississippi River cities (Memphis, St. Louis); and the central Midwest, including Chicago. Today I-55 has usurped that role, but 51 still survives in La. under the interstate’s shadow.
51 begins at a junction with US 61 in Laplace, and starts its long trek north. The bottom part of 51 mainly serves to link the growing exurban area of Laplace with I-10 and I-55. Eastbound traffic on 10 must use a small portion of 51 to access I-55 north, as there is no direct access from EB 10 to NB 55.
At JCT I-55 (exit 1), 51 joins 55 and multiplexes with it for 27 miles to Pontchatoula. Most of this section of I-55 is elevated, and was one of the last portions of the original Louisiana interstate plan (sans I-49) to be completed, opening in the early 80’s. Before then all traffic continued to use the old 51 surface routing which still runs parallel (see History below). Northwest of Pontchatoula 51 becomes independent again, running along the west side of Hammond and paralleling the interstate a few miles away to the MS border and beyond. Old 51 passes through many small towns (Amite, Independence) and continues to fulfill the traditional main street role through many of them.
Just south of the MS stateline, the highway passes through the town of Kentwood, locally known as the source of Kentwood Spring Water, but perhaps more famous as the birthplace and home of a certain famous female pop star. :-0
US 51 was an original 1926 route. Its southern terminus was in New Orleans at first, multiplexed with US 61, 65, and later 90, and terminating at the same place where 61 and 65 ended, probably the intersection of Canal and Broad. (See US 61 for the history of that routing.) 51 was truncated to Laplace in 1951, when La. removed all useless multiplexes.
From the 1920’s to the 50’s, the projected future alignment of US 51 from New Orleans to Laplace would have followed the so-called New Orleans-Hammond Highway paralleling the lakeshore, of which only a few blocks exist in the West End/Bucktown area (now unsigned LA 613-1). Needless to say the majority of the road was never built (for obvious topographical reasons) and the plans were eventually scuttled.
In Laplace, it originally followed Main Street, one block to the east of the present alignment. There is still a long turning ramp, now blocked off, from WB 61 to NB Main Street/Old 51, underscoring the junction’s former importance.
From north of Laplace to Pontchatoula, 51 is now multiplexed with I-55. The old two-lane road, however, is still there and runs parallel to the elevated interstate from exit 1 to exit 23, a few hundred feet to the east of the northbound lanes of 55. It is a deserted road now, passing through uninhabited swampland with no towns or services of any sort. However, it is well preserved and drivable for its whole length, The bridge over Pass Manchac (the second to carry US 51 traffic) also remains; it lies just to the east of the interstate bridge. This part of old 51 was, well into the 1980’s, the main highway from the north to New Orleans. For many years it served to connect the ends of the incomplete Interstate 55 north of Laplace and south of Pontchatoula; the I-55 elevated viaduct wasn’t completed until the early 1980’s. When 55 was completed, 51 was routed along the new interstate route, and the old highway quickly fell into oblivion.
From exit 23 to 24 (BUS US 51-Pontchatoula), 55 buries the old road, one of the few places in La. where an interstate covers an old US alignment. Exit 23 is only accessible from SB, and the signs for the exit read simply “Frontage Rd.” Couldn’t the DOTD in all of its wisdom have called the exit “Old Hwy 51” instead?
Originally 51 followed BUS 51 through Pontchatoula and Hammond. One of the first segments of interstate highway to open in La. (ironically linking to one of the last) was the IH 55 bypass of Pontchatoula, opened in the late 50’s. Look at the ramps at the exit 26 cloverleaf (LA 22) if you want to see an example of old-school highway design. When it opened, 51 was rerouted onto its present routing: the new interstate highway and a surface road (Morrison Blvd.) that passes to the west of central Hammond.
North of Hammond to Mississippi there have been no major changes in routing. This independent part of 51 has faded in importance in the years after the completion of the parallel interstate.
US 51 Business - Hammond/Pontchatoula
Length: 8.6 miles
Southern terminus: JCT IH 55/US 51 south of Pontchatoula (exit 24)
Northern terminus: JCT US 51/190 Hammond (cosigned with 190)
Multilane sections: Portions cosigned with LA 22 and US 190; SW Railroad Street from I-12 interchange north to US 190 junction
Multiplexes: LA 22, Pontchatoula; US 190, Hammond
The old route of US 51 through the centers of Hammond and Pontchatoula. Would make an ideal Business I-55 if La. ever got the notion to sign one.
Length: 121.66 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 90 New Orleans, at intersection of Tulane Avenue and South Broad Avenue
Northern terminus in La.: MS stateline between St. Francisville and Woodville, MS
Parishes: Or, Jef, St C, St JB, St J, Asc, EBR, EF, WF
Multilane sections: MS border to Bains; Port Hudson to south terminus
Multiplexes: LA 964, Star Hill; US 190, Baton Rouge; LA 42, south of Baton Rouge to Prairieville
The section of US 61 connecting Baton Rouge and New Orleans was at a time the most important highway in the state, connecting the state’s capital with its largest city. The Airline Highway has been bypassed as a through route by Interstates 10 and 110, but US 61 still functions as an important multilane route, serving large amounts of local traffic in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas and linking the cities to exurban areas sprouting in the swamps and sugar cane fields of the River Parishes. The highway also continues to tie together the towns and industries of the petrochemical corridor between N.O. and B.R., as well as link them to roads leading to the nearby interstate.
North of Baton Rouge the Scenic Highway continues the route of US 61 through woodlands and hills, past the Port Hudson State Commemorative Area, site of a major Civil War battle, and historic St. Francisville. This part of 61 is still a major corridor free of interstate influence, and is the preferred route to Natchez, MS and rural northeastern Louisiana, including Monroe, from the population centers in the southeastern part of the state.
Baton Rouge-New Orleans:
The transportation corridor linking the state’s center of political power with the state’s population, economic, and cultural hearth has historically been the Mississippi River itself. So it is not surprising that the first roads followed the river – the fabled river road. In La. this was even more so, as any high ground to be found in the low-lying southern part of the state was generally along the riverbanks. When automobiles first took to the roads in La., their drivers found that these existing roads, which replicated each bend and curve of the parallel rivers and bayous, were hopelessly indirect and time-consuming to use. This fact played a major part in the development of a modern N.O.-B.R. corridor.
The first road between the two cities, the Jefferson Highway, followed the river road for the most part, and most of this became the first routing of US 61 after being commissioned in 1926. The exact route was (using present designations):
• Beginning at intersection of St. Charles and Common, downtown N.O.
• Claiborne Ave. (US 90), New Orleans to Jefferson
• Jefferson Highway (US 90/LA 48) to Norco (local name in use in Jefferson Parish outside city of Kenner)
• The River Road to Montz (much of this routing no longer exists due to construction of Bonnet Carré Spillway, though a local road passes through the spillway which replicates this routing)
• LA 628 to Laplace
• LA 44 to Burnside (local name of Jefferson Hy. in Gramercy/Lutcher)
• LA 942 to Darrow
• LA 75 to Geismar
• LA 73 to Baton Rouge (local name of Jefferson Highway)
• In Baton Rouge: Jefferson Highway, Claycut Road, S. Acadian Thwy., Government St., Dufrocq (19th) St., North Street, Jackson Road (N. 21st St./Scenic Highway)
This (excepting the first portion) was all part of the original LA 1, which duplicated the routing of the Jefferson Highway statewide. US 61, when certified in 1926, likely had its own south terminus at the intersection of S. Claiborne and Jackson Avenues, where US 90 intersected at the time.
In 1928, Huey Long was elected to the governorship with (among other proposals) the promise to construct an “airline highway” from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Much of the road we know today as Airline Highway (or Airline ‘Drive’ from St. Charles Parish to New Orleans, thanks to our political ‘leadership’) was constructed between 1929 and 1931, and US 61 (and 65, and 51 from Laplace eastward) was subsequently routed onto it.
However, it was not the multilane Airline Highway that Louisianans are familiar with today (it had two lanes originally) and it did not extend all the way to New Orleans or Baton Rouge. On the New Orleans end the highway ended at the present LA 49/Williams Blvd. intersection in Kenner, and US 51/61/65 dipped south to follow Jefferson Highway from there to New Orleans. On the other end, the highway tied into the existing Jefferson Highway (present LA 73) at Prairieville, and US 61 continued to follow that route to Baton Rouge. Overall though, the straight-as-an-arrow Airline Highway was a major improvement from the winding and dangerous river road routing.
Extensions were forthcoming. The highway on the New Orleans end was extended first to tie into Metairie Road (LA 611-9). US 51/61/65 briefly utilized the Metairie Road alignment; however, around 1937 they were returned to Jefferson Highway and entered the city at the same place US 90 does today (after 1935 and the opening of the Huey Long bridge, 90 was added to this alignment also). It was only in 1940, when Airline was extended into the city itself to tie into Tulane Avenue, that US 51/61/65 was moved to the extended highway, with a new south terminus at Canal and Broad in N.O (later moved ca. 1970 to Tulane and Broad, the location of the Orleans Parish courthouse). The 1940 extension was constructed as a multilane segment, making it the oldest section of multilane Airline Highway. On the Baton Rouge end, the current city bypass alignment was constructed at the same time as the US 190 Mississippi River bridge (1940-41), and was signed for a time as Bypass US 61/190 (and Bypass US 65 until 1951). The twinning of Airline took place in the 50’s as traffic counts overwhelmed the original two-lane road, and was completed in 1958-59 with the last segment to be improved in Ascension Parish north of Gonzales.
Because Airline Highway served its function well, it took longer than other routes to be bypassed by an interstate routing; the state first invested its interstate resources in upgrading more dangerous, congested two-lane corridors such as US 80 in north Louisiana and US 90 in southwest Louisiana, before concentrating on the Airline/US 61 corridor. The last segment of I-10 between N.O. and B.R. was opened ca. 1980 in the Sorrento area. By that time Airline Highway had ceased to act as the prime corridor for through traffic. The majority of Airline traffic today is local in nature, or truck traffic associated with the refineries that line the river between the two cities.
Through B.R., the alignment of 61 (and US 65 and 190) was as follows in the late 1920s: Jefferson Hy. to Clay Cut Rd., Claycut to Cleon (S. Acadian Thwy.), Cleon to Gov’t, Gov’t to Dufrocq (19th), Dufrocq to North Street, North to Jackson Road (Scenic Hwy. – US 61 only). US 190 proceeded west on North St. to the old Miss. River ferry landing where it ended (it was extended across the river in 1935).
In 1936-7: Jeff Hy. to Gov’t, Gov’t to Foster, Foster to North Street, North to N 21st (Scenic Hwy.).
In 1939: Jeff Hy. to Gov’t, Gov’t to Terrace (Edison), Terrace to N. Blvd., N Blvd. to N 19th, 19th to North, North to N 21st (Scenic Hwy.).
In 1946: Airline to Florida (US 61), Florida to N 19th, N 19th to North, North to Scenic Hy. US 190 would no longer use the ferry after 1940 and would proceed north to Airline Hy. in Scotlandville from that point on to use the then-new Miss. River bridge (locally called the “old” bridge today).
Ca. 1950: Florida to Lafayette/3rd couplet, transitioning to two-way traffic on N 3rd at North Street, north to Choctaw, then east to Scenic Hy. US 65 was removed in 1951.
In 1955: Florida Ave. west of Airline Hwy. to 33rd St. (Acadian Thruway); 33rd to North St., North to Scenic Highway, and Scenic Hwy. northward.
In 1956: Florida to N 9th/N 10th couplet, moving onto the original portion of the BR Freeway (former I-410, now I-110) at the current location of the Governor’s Mansion curve to its east end at Scenic Hy., thence northward on Scenic.
The present Airline Highway bypass was signed as Bypass 61/190 until some point in the early 1960s. Remarkably, you can still find a stray “By-pass” banner here and there.
Baton Rouge northward:
North of B.R. the only major changes since the beginning has been the dualizing to Port Hudson, the dropping of the multiplex with US 65, and putting the route on a more direct alignment north of Baton Rouge (Samuels Road, originally part of LA 68). The old route followed the original (and present) Scenic Highway, LA 964. US 61 has also been realigned in the St. Francisville area, to bypass the town. The old route is signed as Business US 61, and (also) signed and designated as LA 3057.
Business US 61 - Baton Rouge
Length: 10.89 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 61/190 eastern Baton Rouge
Northern terminus: JCT US 61/190 northern Baton Rouge
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: Entirety with BUS US 190
This route is composed of important city streets in B.R., swinging through downtown while 61 does the bypassing. It is entirely cosigned with Business US 190. The Florida Street/Blvd. portion, as well as the Scenic Highway portion, were part of US 61 (and US 190) for a time in the 1950’s and 60’s, before 61/190 were routed onto the Airline Highway ‘bypass’ route (formerly Bypass US 61/190). The River Road-Chippewa Avenue section was not ever part of 61 or 190. See US 61 history for details of 61’s original B.R. routing. This route has less relevance now that the interstates have the primary role in moving through traffic, but the Florida Blvd. portion of the business route receives plenty of local traffic.
Length: about 34 miles (?)
Southern terminus: JCT I-20 Ruston
Northern terminus in La.: AR border at Junction City
Parishes: Lin, Un, grazes Cl
Multilane sections: none known
Multiplexes: Entirety with US 167
Apparently the AHTD fancies Arkansas the center of the US highway universe. What else explains the brand-new US routes and US highway extensions that have occurred there in recent years? AR’s neighbors have been less keen to accommodate the AHTD’s delusions of grandeur, and so while routes have been extended through other states to AR, they have been signed poorly, probably in protest.
US 63 is another one of these AR-instigated extensions. The route was extended through AR into La. in 1999, entirely cosigned (but not very well ;-) with US 167 to its new southern terminus at Ruston. This creates the only situation in La. where there are duplicate US and SR routes. However, the DOTD will probably do nothing about it, as they consider the route of US 63 to be US 167 alone (therefore technically no duplication), and the state route LA 63 is located to the east of Baton Rouge: too far away for any confusion to ensue.
My suggestion: GET RID OF IT! Let the AHTD pipe-dream on their own.
Length: 117.47 miles (slightly shorter now)
Southern terminus in La.: US 425/LA 15, Clayton
Northern terminus in La.: AR border 15 miles north of Lake Providence
Parishes: Con, Ten, Mad, EC
Multilane sections: None
US 65 is a major highway in the Louisiana portion of the Mississippi Delta, and traverses a lot of empty space. Paralleling the Mississippi River, it connects several small Delta towns, and passes through some of the most under-populated and poorest areas of the state.
The present route of US 65 is similar to the original 1926 routing, though the actual alignment has been altered and straightened over time, plus the addition of a bridge over the Miss. River at Natchez. Older alignments of 65 include LA 605, 128, 568, and PR G17 in Madison Parish.
In 1936, US 65 was extended down US 61 from Natchez to a new terminus in New Orleans, creating a south leg of the route in the state. It terminated at the same point where 61 (and 51) ended. For history of this portion, see the US 61 listing. La. eliminated the south leg in 1951, the closest the state has ever come to decommissioning a US route. IMO it was justified, as the whole thing was multiplexed with 61. MS neglected to immediately truncate its part of the route to Natchez, so technically US 65 ended for a few years where US 61 crosses the LA/MS border north of Laurel Hill. Until 2005, US 65 had its south terminus at the US 61/84 junction on the south side of Natchez, MS.
In 2005 a monstrous act occurred. In the interests of the motoring public, in what could only be described as an act of sheer stupidity, LA 65 was truncated to Clayton in favor of an extended US 425, which assumed the old 65 route to the former southern terminus at Natchez. See the US 425 listing for the gory details, and the loud ranting.
Length: 230.99 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 190 west of Krotz Springs, at an interchange
Northern terminus in La.: AR border at Ida
Parishes: St L, Av, Rap, Gr, Wi, Nat, RR, Bo, Cad
Multilane sections: JCT 167 south of Lecompte to 71/165 JCT at Pineville; portion cosigned with Pineville Freeway (US 167), Tioga; from southern Bossier city to US 71/LA 1 junction in north Shreveport
Multiplexes: LA 29, Bunkie; US 167, from south of Lecompte to JCT I-49 on the south side of Alexandria; Business US 167, Alexandria; US 165, Alexandria to Pineville; US 167 freeway, Tioga; LA 8, near Colfax; US 84, Clarence to Coushatta: US 371, Coushatta to Edgefield; I-20, Bossier City to Shreveport; LA 1, Shreveport; LA 2, Hosston
Before the substantial completion of Interstate 49, US 71 was the primary north-south highway in Louisiana, connecting the southern and southeastern part of the state and its population centers with the north and the state’s third-largest city, Shreveport. Interstate 49’s completion has now relegated this route, at least south of Shreveport, to a less primary role in the state’s transportation network. Even so, it remains to serve local and short-haul traffic in the central part of Louisiana and on the eastern side of the Red River. North of Shreveport 71 remains a primary route, taking through traffic to Texarkana and points north, though this may change in the future if the proposed extension of I-49 north to Kansas City, Missouri is ever constructed.
The original 1926 routing of US 71 placed its terminus in Port Allen, LA, at the ferry landing directly opposite Baton Rouge. (The Baton Rouge-Port Allen ferry, once the only crossing of the river at that location and a major link in the highway system, is now defunct, having been supplanted by the two bridge crossings.) From Port Allen to Clarence, the route followed the Jefferson Highway, old LA 1. The modern equivalent is as follows:
• LA 76 from Port Allen to Rosedale
• LA 77 to JCT LA 10 north of Fordoche
• LA 10 to Lebeau, including ferry crossing at Melville (the road east of Melville is still gravel!)
• Present route to Alexandria, with variations: LA 1177 north of Bunkie, LA 456 and 470 in Lecompte area, West Street south of Alexandria
• In Alexandria: Lee Street, Bolton Avenue, Murray Avenue, defunct Red River crossing (the present crossing is two blocks upstream, at Jackson Street)
• In Pineville: Main Street (Bus US 165), Jefferson Highway (LA 180)
• Present route to JCT US 167
• LA 3225 (Shreveport Highway locally)
• Present route, with variations: LA 492, 8, 158 Colfax; LA 1225 Clarence
Beyond that point US 71 continued to follow its modern corridor to the stateline, with variations:
• LA 6 and 486, Clarence to Campti
• The portion of Barksdale Blvd. that is now LA 3 Spur and LA 72 in Bossier City
• A defunct crossing (Traffic Street Bridge) of the Red River near the present I-20 bridge
• LA 3049 to Gilliam
The present routing south of Lebeau was completed in 1935, as part of a major realignment of roads in the area. US 190 was extended west from its original western terminus at Baton Rouge, across the ferry and along present LA 76 and 415, to what could be called its present alignment, originally designated as (old) LA 7. This included a new bridge across the Atchafalaya River (later replaced by two twin bridges ca. 1980) and lengthy bridging and elevated roadway over the then-new Atchafalaya Floodway, then as now a barren, wooded area occasionally used to relieve the flow of the Mississippi River when high water threatens B.R. and N.O. Much of the southernmost portion of present US 71 exists as elevated road on embankment in the floodway.
US 71 was multiplexed with US 190 after that from Krotz Springs eastward, and continued to serve Baton Rouge until its truncation to its present terminus in 1951. The southern terminus from the period 1940-1951, after the completion of the US 190 Miss. River bridge, is unclear, but I am guessing US 71 ended at the Port Allen ferry landing during that time.
In Alexandria, US 71 was first rerouted in the 30’s along Bolton Ave. to the present US 71/LA 1 junction, which was a traffic circle (until the recent completion of the IH 49/US 71-167 interchange); then over the Long-Allen bridge, which it still uses today, along its present alignment northward. Later it was routed to an outer bypass, Macarthur Blvd., in the 1950’s, which tied into this Red River crossing (but not immediately – the bypass was designated Bypass 71 as late as 1955). The 1930’s through-town routing (Lee & Bolton Sts.; later Lee St., Mason/Overton couplet, Bringhurst and Bolton) became Business US 71, a designation now defunct; the business route existed from 195x-197x.
In the Shreveport area, US 71 entered the city via Barksdale Blvd. and originally crossed the Red River on the Traffic Street Bridgewhich connected Barksdale Blvd. in Bossier City to Commerce St. in Shreveport. From Commerce St. US 71 zigzagged north on several streets in downtown Shreveport - Commerce, Lake, Spring, and Crockett to Market, which led north out of downtown. Later Spring and Market were changed into a couplet south of Texas Street, which was eventually extended north in the current manner.
The Traffic Street Bridge was closed to auto traffic in 1955 and demolished in June of 1968. Thus from 1955 until the completion of I-20 (the current route of US 71) in the area, US 71 followed Traffic Street to reach Texas Street (US 79/80) and crossed the river on the Long-Allen Bridge (opened 1934).
Bypass US 71 - Alexandria
Length: xx miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 71/167 southern Alexandria
Northern terminus: JCT US 71/165 northern Alexandria
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: Entirety with I-49; US 167, south terminus to downtown Alexandria
Created in 1996 after the completion of I-49 in Alexandria, this route is entirely cosigned with IH 49 along the Alexandria urban section. Designed to allow people wanting to follow 71 a means of getting through the city quicker and bypassing surface Macarthur Boulevard. But I ask, who follows 71 anymore?
This is the second Bypass 71 in the area; an earlier one existed in the early to mid 1950s (see above).
Length: 88.15 miles
Southern terminus in La.: TX border @ Bethany
Northern terminus in La.: AR border north of Haynesville
Parishes: Cad, Bo, Web, Cl
Multilane sections: JCT Jefferson Paige Rd to US 171, Shreveport; downtown Shreveport to JCT US 371, Dixie Inn
Multiplexes: US 80, Greenwood to Minden; LA 169, Greenwood; LA 159, Minden; LA 9, Homer
US 79 is a diagonal route that cuts the northwestern corner of Louisiana, its presence in the state mainly to serve the Shreveport area and providing the best connection from there to Houston, TX, and Memphis, TN. About half of its route in La. is multiplexed with US 80, and that portion of its routing has been effectively bypassed by I-20, though it still carries large amounts of local traffic in Shreveport and Bossier City. The 79/80 multiplex is a rare case of two multiplexed highways with consecutive numbers. Overall it is one of the less important US highways in La., except for the portion south of Greenwood, which serves as the main corridor between Shreveport and Houston. A proposed southern extension of I-69 from Indianapolis to Mexico, if it occurs, would render this highway less important still, and probably replace it as the major Shreveport-to-Houston corridor.
US 79 is not an original 1926 US route. It first made its appearance in La. in 1935, the year of its birth, and has not changed much since then, except for the inevitable widenings. The section from Bossier City to Dixie Inn was widened in the 1950’s, pre-interstate of course.
Truck US 79 – Minden: see Truck US 80, which this route duplicates
Length: 195.61 miles alone; about 199 miles total
Western terminus in La.: TX border west of Greenwood
Eastern terminus in La.: MS border @ Delta
Parishes: Cad, Bo, Web, Bi, Lin, Ou, Ri, Mad
Multilane sections: JCT Jefferson Paige Rd to US 171, Shreveport; downtown Shreveport to JCT US 371, Dixie Inn; US 167 concurrency in Ruston; JCT LA 34 West Monroe to JCT LA 139 in Monroe; with I-20 from west of Delta to MS border
Multiplexes: US 79, Greenwood to Minden; LA 169, Greenwood; LA 159, Minden; LA 9, Arcadia; US 167, Ruston; LA 15, Claiborne to Monroe; Business US 165, Monroe; LA 133 west of Rayville; I-20, west of Delta to MS border
Once a major transcontinental highway linking two oceans, an important route linking the South with the West, and the primary transportation corridor in northern Louisiana, connecting the north’s two major urban centers and a host of smaller centers, US 80 is now but a shadow of its former glory. Its western end has been truncated, replaced by faster interstate corridors from Dallas westward; and in Louisiana the changes have been no less pronounced, the old highway now existing in the shadows of its bypass and replacement, Interstate 20. Today 80’s primary purpose is to serve local traffic, and remains a major local thoroughfare in Shreveport and Monroe. But for all practical purposes 80’s days as a through route have ended, having been one of the first US highways to be effectively replaced by the interstate in La.
There was a reason why the La. Department of Highways was quick to complete its portion of IH 20 as a replacement for 80, as the highway has changed little since its creation in 1926 as an original US route and the replacement in La. for the Dixie Overland Highway, which routing 80 replicates for much of its (remaining) length nationally.
Of course there have been some changes, such as the addition of pavement (duh) and widening in and near the urban areas which 80 traverses. This lack of substantial change, however, is what would account for 80’s downfall. After the Second World War, US 80 had to cope with ever-increasing traffic volumes, much larger than a two-lane road was capable of handling, and soon became functionally obsolete, known by locals as a notoriously dangerous highway noted for high accident rates. The segment between Bossier City and Dixie Inn was the first and only segment of rural highway to be widened (mid 50’s). When the Interstate Highway program was instituted and the US 80 routing was selected for interstate upgrade, it was decided to give up on widening 80 and bypass the old two-lane highway altogether with the new limited-access facility. And the DOH did so rapidly, finishing I-20 by the early 1970’s, the first completed major cross-state interstate in La.
There have been two major realignments, both involving bridges:
The first predates the interstate. Before 1934 and the completion of the current Long-Allen Bridge, the only means of crossing the Red River at Shreveport would have been the old Traffic Street Bridge (closed to autos 1955, demolished 1968). So US 80 would have utilized this river crossing. I am guessing the route used Cotton or Crockett Street from Texas Avenue east to Commerce Street, then south to reach the bridgehead, then east across the bridge (along with US 71). On the Bossier side, US 80 would have either used Traffic Street/Old Benton Road (?), or (more likely) Barksdale Blvd./Old Minden Road (current LA 72)
The second realignment is derived from the Interstate age. From west of Delta to the MS state line, 80 has been routed onto the interstate and the new interstate Miss. River crossing at Vicksburg, bypassing the old 1940 crossing (now closed to auto traffic, but still used as a railroad bridge). The old alignment of US 80 into Delta is now designated as LA 3218.
Truck US 80 – Minden
Not sure about the exact routing of this route, which is duplicated with Truck US 79. Apparently a locally signed route designed to serve as a bypass of downtown Minden for truck traffic. It and Truck US 79 are recent creations, both dating from the late 1990’s.
Length: 173.17 miles sans US 425; about 184 miles total
Western terminus in La.: TX border @ Logansport
Eastern terminus in La.: MS border @ Vidalia
Parishes: De, RR, Nat, Wi, Las, Cat, Con
Multilane sections: JCT US 425 Ferriday to MS border
Multiplexes: Lots of ‘em: US 171, Mansfield; LA 175, Mansfield; LA 1, Grand Bayou to Armistead; US 371, Gahagan to Coushatta; US 71, Coushatta to Clarence; US 167, Winnfield; LA 34, Winnfield to Joyce; LA 772, Trout to Jena; LA 8, Jena to Whitehall; LA 124, Jonesville; LA 15, Ferriday; US 425, Ferriday to MS border
US 84 passes through the heart of piney northern Louisiana, passing mainly through a few medium-sized towns and just grazing a large one, Natchitoches. Overall throughout its length in the South it does not pass through anyplace substantial, with the exception of an occasional larger regional center such as Dothan, AL. However, it is a major trucking corridor and indirectly serves larger cities such as Shreveport and Alexandria by connections with other major highways. The section from Clarence to just east of Mansfield parallels the I-49 corridor and sees less traffic than the rest of the highway.
Created as an original US highway in 1926, US 84 was not extended into La. until 1934. The original Mississippi River bridge between Natchez and Vidalia, constructed in the late 1940’s (a second span was added in 1988), was financed and constructed by the city of Natchez, Mississippi. It is probably common for a municipal government to build a Miss. River crossing in the Midwest, but is rare down here.
The routing between Mansfield and Coushatta was different in the beginning. The original route was as follows:
• LA 3248 to Naborton
• Naborton Cutoff, a local road, to LA 510
• LA 510 to Evelyn
• US 371 (Former LA 177) for about ¼ mile north from Evelyn
• PR 604 to Armistead
• Present route to Coushatta, though a bridge crossing did not exist in the 30’s (a ferry took travelers across the Red River)
See US 71 History section for old routings from Coushatta to Clarence.
By 1939, there was a bridge crossing at Coushatta. As late as that year, the segment from Logansport to Coushatta was still gravel.
Length: 300.63 miles
Western terminus in La.: TX border west of Toomey
Eastern terminus in La.: MS border @ Pearlington, MS
Parishes: Calc, JD, Ac, Lafy, St M, Iba, St My, Asu, Ter, Lafo, St C, Jef, Or, St T
Multilane sections: With I-10, TX border to Toomey, and Westlake to Lake Charles; through Sulphur; through Lake Charles; JCT St. John Street, Lafayette to Chef Menteur Pass bridge, eastern New Orleans
Multiplexes: A long route’s bound to have many: I-10, TX border to Toomey; Business LA 27, Sulphur; IH 10, Westlake to Lake Charles; LA 99, Welsh; LA 102, Jennings; LA 91, Midland to Estherwood; LA 13, Crowley; LA 35, Rayne; LA 93, Scott; US 167, Lafayette; LA 92, south of Broussard; LA 182, Calumet; LA 182, Bayou Vista to Patterson; LA 18, Avondale to Bridge City; LA 48, Jefferson
The longest US route in La., one of the state’s longest routes overall, and at one time the state’s most important highway by far, US 90 has two distinct personalities in La. The first is that of major transportation corridor, serving the industries and populations of the bayou country of far southern Louisiana, four-lane highway at a minimum with lengthy expressway sections and even full freeway portions. The Lafayette-New Orleans segment of 90 is so important that the state is upgrading the entire corridor to freeway quality, with a designation of interstate status in store for the future. The other is that of bypassed old road, a two-lane highway once having held importance, but now relegated to serving primarily local traffic in the shadow of Interstate 10; this is a personality it retains throughout much of its present national routing east of San Antonio, TX (when it isn’t multiplexed with the interstate itself).
Interstate 49 is planned for a “southern” extension from Lafayette along US 90 to a new terminus in New Orleans, eliminating the last portion of US 90 east of San Antonio that carries any importance as an independent through route. Whether US 90 will be cosigned with the new interstate or returned to its older, parallel alignments remains to be seen. (IMO this extension should be Interstate 6; but that’s another story.)
US 90 first made its appearance in La. in 1926, as an original US highway. In La., as through much of the South, it followed and replaced the Old Spanish Trail (old LA 2, originally cosigned with US 90 for the entire length in La.). The original routing, of course, was substantially different in bayou country, but there were variations as well elsewhere. Entering La. from Texas, 90 crossed the Sabine River on a now-demolished bridge located at central Orange, not north of the city proper where it enters La. presently. It followed a mostly still-drivable road that headed northeastward, then arching northward to a junction with the present state highway west of Toomey. This road is now parish-maintained and is locally called “Old Highway 90.” The old highway then followed present LA 3112 to Toomey, where it meets the modern-day highway returning to its original surface alignment. The local road segment was bypassed in the early 1950’s in a La.-Texas joint effort to improve 90, when it was moved to the present interstate alignment and Sabine River crossing (the original spans, which were less than interstate standard, also carried I-10 for many years, and were recently replaced with a modern freeway bridge). This also explains why LA 3112, a seemingly pointless spur, is a multilane highway, as it used to feed US 90 traffic onto the new bridge.
US 90 remains on its original alignment to just past Sulphur, where its original alignment diverges. The original road is buried by I-10 to Westlake. From there the old road turns south as a local road to dead end at the Calcasieu River. Originally there was a bridge here, and it joined with original 90 across the river – Lakeshore Drive, which parallels the river and the shoreline of Lake Charles (the geographic feature, not the city). To this day there are some cool old 1920s era bridges along the lakeshore route. In 1952 the present highway bridge over the river that now carries I-10 and US 90 was constructed for US 90 alone, with the interstate later being routed along it (with bad results for motorists). This bridge is slated for replacement with a more modern span.
US 90 followed Lakeshore Drive to downtown Lake Charles, where it turned to the east at Broad and followed that street to its end at present LA 397. (Today it has a gap in between in eastern L.C. but at the time it was continuous.) Part of this route today is Business US 90 and the rest is locally maintained. The route later followed Broad Street directly to present 90. Before then, 90 followed present LA 397 northward to the present alignment. With the construction of the present Calcasieu River crossing, the routing into L.C. from the west followed the interstate alignment over the new bridge to Lakeshore Drive, thence south to Broad. The present alignment probably came about when the I-10 freeway was constructed through there in the mid-1960s.
The only known alignment variation between Lake Charles and Lafayette is in Jennings, where 90 probably followed present LA 26 and LA 3055 through the town.
In Lafayette, 90 followed this routing (as of 1955): Cameron, south on St. John, east on Main (around the courthouse square), south on Jefferson to Pinhook Road (present LA 182). University Avenue (present Business 90) was signed as Bypass 90 (and Bypass US 167). US 90 was routed onto the Evangeline Thruway couplet in the late 1950’s. It then left Lafayette on LA 182 (Pinhook Road), and then followed that route (where it hasn’t been subsumed by the expressway/freeway) to Raceland. For those who now say, “What a leap!” it must be explained that this portion of 90 has been totally bypassed by the newer freeway/ expressway grade US 90. LA 182 was extended southward and eastward bit by bit as the US 90 expressway was completed in sections from Lafayette southeastward. Well into the 1970’s, US 90 still used the old two-lane alignment in St. Mary Parish, and remained on the two-lane highway from Morgan City through Houma to west of Raceland until 1999. The two-lane route was often congested and dangerous, and the gap between the four-lane segments was finally closed when the US 90 freeway was opened in its entirety in 1999. The segment from the LA 311 exit eastward had existed since the 1970’s, so it was a long time in coming.
The original two-lane 1933 bridge over the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City, which US 90 utilized for 45 years, remains, and now serves to carry just LA 182. The present US 90 crossing and the freeway segment in Morgan City were completed in 1978. Between Houma and Raceland, the protean 1920’s alignment followed LA 653, and was later straightened to follow present 182.
From the present terminus of LA 182 northeast of Raceland to just south of Des Allemands, the original and present alignments are one and the same, though the highway is now divided and multilane. South of Des Allemands the original route breaks off as LA 631, crossing Bayou Des Allemands and closely paralleling the present four-lane US 90 to its end at a junction with LA 52 in Boutte. This section was bypassed by the present 90 in the 1960’s.
At this point the original alignment of 90 followed LA 52 (Paul Mallard Drive) north to Luling, where it then followed present LA 18 (the Miss. River road) to Avondale. In Avondale the old route diverted northeastward, following the bank of the river, at a point on the western side of the Northrop Grunman Avondale Shipyards facility. The old highway continued to follow the river road through what is now shipyard property; needless to say this is no longer a public road and cannot be accessed, if the road even exists anymore. At the east side of the shipyards, LA 541 meets the levee and assumes the path of the river road/old US 90; old 90 followed present LA 541 from there to Bridge City, where it then made a right at Bridge City Avenue, a locally-maintained thoroughfare, and continued to the present site of the Huey Long Bridge Westbank traffic circle, where LA 18 again assumes the old routing. This convoluted routing, from Boutte to the Huey Long Bridge, was bypassed in the late 40’s/early 50’s by the present alignment, which was widened to its present four lanes in the later 1950’s.
Before the completion of the Huey Long Bridge in 1935, the only means of crossing the Mississippi River at New Orleans (and elsewhere in La.) was by ferry, so the US 90 crossing of the river was done in this fashion. The present LA 18 from Bridge City to Gretna served as the first routing of US 90 in Westbank Jefferson Parish. At Gretna, US 90 turned riverward at Huey P. Long Avenue, and continued to the ferry terminal at the foot of that street. The Jackson Avenue-Gretna ferry, still in operation today (remarkably, considering the proximity of the GNO Bridge), served as the first crossing of the Mississippi River for US 90. Now having entered New Orleans, 90 followed Jackson Avenue northward, to rejoin its present route at South Claiborne Avenue.
When the Huey Long Bridge was opened in 1935, US 90 was put on its present routing from Bridge City to New Orleans. The bridge was the first crossing of the Mississippi River in La., and was a primary goal of Governor Huey Long’s road-building program. The completion of the bridge was a major achievement in its day. It is still the longest combined road/rail bridge in the world. Today it still carries plenty of traffic, but the traffic lanes are very narrow and the bridge is harrowing to cross. The DOTD, under the TIMED program set up to expedite the construction of expensive but crucial infrastructure links in La., is now undertaking a project to improve the bridge to six full-sized lanes in the near future.
Within New Orleans, US 90’s original routing was thus: Jackson Ave. to South Claiborne, thence east to Canal, thence lakebound to North Broad, thence east to St. Bernard Avenue, thence north to Paris Avenue, thence east on Gentilly Blvd. (then Gentilly Road). The legislative route logs say, and several maps imply, that US 90 followed Bruxelles Street (a side street, no less!) directly from North Broad to Gentilly, so for a time it may have followed Bruxelles, though when precisely is hard to say. The present Allen/New Orleans couplet probably came into existence ca. 1949, when an underpass was constructed for North Broad under the nearby railroad line. US 90 was moved to its Tulane Avenue segment in the 1960’s.
From the point where Gentilly Blvd. ‘turns into’ Chef Menteur Highway at the railroad underpass eastward, the old highway followed the present Old Gentilly Road, the historic land route east from N.O. (which present Gentilly Blvd. is also a part of) paralleling the old Bayou Gentilly/Bayou Sauvage. This was also called the Old Spanish Trail as well, and was a part of the historic auto trail. The crossing of the Industrial Canal (opened to shipping in 1921, before the US highway system’s birth) was accomplished at the present site of the Almonaster Blvd. road/rail crossing, where the highway had been diverted south from its pre-canal, original line to cross at the railroad bridge. No trace of this diversion remains and Old Gentilly Road presently has a break in its route at the Industrial Canal. The section from Jourdan Road eastward paralleling the mainline railroad tracks, while having its own overpass over I-10 (!) is practically abandoned and is used mainly as a dumping ground for all sorts of junk, from mattresses to burnt-out automobiles. IMO this is an ignominious fate for a former routing of a US highway. This dumping is a common problem in this area, an undeveloped part of the city south of the Chef Highway commercial strip, officially part of the former “New Orleans Business and Industrial District” (acronym of ‘NOBID’! – LOL), which is primarily composed of junkyards. The curving section east of here has fared better: it is still used by traffic, and is a real gem, the road still retaining its original 1930’s Portland cement surface as far as the NASA facility east of I-510. At the end of development past the NASA facility, the old alignment folds into present 90, which continues on the original Old Spanish Trail path paralleling the bayou to Chef Pass. The present Chef Hwy-Old Gentilly Road intersection in Michoud is not the spot where the old alignment meets the new: One can still see an abandoned section of the old pavement, weeds growing through the cracks, on the south side of present 90 where the Chef Highway alignment diverts from the original one, just west of Industrial Parkway.
Chef menteur means “chief liar” in French. Today’s Chef Menteur Highway alignment, a straight route through eastern N.O. from the railroad underpass at Peoples Avenue to well past Michoud Blvd., was in existence as early as the 1930’s from its western end to the western Old Gentilly Rd. junction, and was in the works for at least twenty years before that time. The highway was widened in the 1950’s in response to increased traffic loads. The present New Danzinger Bridge over the Industrial Canal dates to 1987, replacing an older span at that location.
US 90 remains on its original alignment to its junction with LA 433. The narrow Chef Pass swing drawspan is one of the state’s oldest bridges from the Long era, dating to 1930 or so. Its longer cousin, the Rigolets crossing, was replaced with a modern concrete high level span in 2008. Little traffic uses these bridges, but because they serve as part of an alternate route for I-10, and as part of a potential hurricane evacuation route, the old Rigolets span was replaced, and the Chef Pass bridge is soon to follow.
Originally in the 1920’s, US 90 took a very indirect route to Mississippi. From the junction of 433, 90 followed this route to Slidell, and then followed present US 11, LA 3081, and the route known as Old US 11 to a crossing of the Pearl River, into MS. (See US 11 History for details on “Old 11.”) The present direct alignment from the Rigolets to Pearlington, MS, including the present Pearl River crossing, was completed around 1929-1930.
Business US 90 – Lake Charles
Length: 3.23 miles
Western terminus: JCT I-10/US 90 @ exit 31A, Lake Charles
Eastern terminus: JCT US 90, eastern Lake Charles
Multilane sections: Entire route
A short loop off of US 90, consisting of Enterprise Blvd., Broad Street, and Pamco Road in Lake Charles. Kind of a misleading designation, as it does not enter the Lake Charles central business district proper, for some reason. It did at one time, though, using Broad and Lakeshore Drive.
Business US 90 – Lafayette
Length: 2.70 miles
Northern terminus: JCT US 90 (Cameron Street @ University Avenue), Lafayette
Southern terminus: JCT US 90 (Evangeline Thruway @ Pinhook Road), Lafayette
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: LA 182, University Avenue section
Passes through downtown Lafayette on an old through-town routing (formerly Bypass 90 – how a bypass can become a business route is anyone’s guess). Why it uses Pinhook Road to return to US 90 on the south end is a mystery to me. It is shorter and more direct to use University Avenue south of Pinhook if one is headed to downtown from 90 or from downtown to 90 eastbound. Betcha this causes a lot of drivers unfamiliar with the area to go out of their way when they don’t really need to.
Business US 90 – Morgan City
Length: 8.08 miles
Western terminus: JCT US 90 @ Federal Avenue exit, Morgan City
Eastern terminus: JCT US 90 @ LA 662 (west exit), Boeuf (?)
Parishes: St My, Asu
Multilane sections: Through Morgan City
Multiplexes: LA 182, Morgan City to east end
Serves Morgan City on the old surface route of 90. A recent creation, dating to 1999, upon the completion of the last gap in the “New 90” freeway from Morgan City to Houma. The east end is an educated guess on my part, as signage is not forthcoming on US 90 proper. AASHTO approved this route to follow LA 182/old 90 from Morgan City through Houma all the way to Raceland, but the official mileage betrays the fact that it is definitely not signed that far. Anyway, the signage in Morgan City itself is haphazard at best.
Business US 90 – New Orleans/Westbank Jefferson Parish
Length: 13.87 miles
Western terminus: JCT US 90 Avondale
Eastern terminus: JCT I-10 @ exit 234A/US 90, New Orleans
Parishes: Jef, Or
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: LA 23, on service roads in Gretna
The Westbank Expressway from Avondale to the GNO Bridge, and part of the Pontchartrain Expressway on the other side of the bridge. Freeway grade from just east of Westwood Blvd. in Marrero to a junction with I-10 in N.O., almost all on elevated viaduct. Heavily used by Westbank commuters and serves as the Westbank’s de facto main street. The freeway portion is built to interstate standards and has a secret designation of I-910, and is slated to become part of the future I-49 "south” extension. The western junction at US 90 is at an obsolete 1950’s interchange, which actually includes an at-grade intersection between the two inner ramps, complete with STOP signs! The eastern end actually merges into I-10 at the massive downtown ‘megachange’ near the Superdome, but does meet and cross mainline 90 (South Claiborne Ave.) before doing so.
The elevated viaduct on the Westbank, dating to the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, replaced a dangerous 1950’s-era at-grade expressway from Marrero to the DeGaulle Blvd. exit. This expressway included the notorious Harvey Tunnel, which still exists under the Harvey Canal directly below the present high-rise freeway bridge. It is now used by the present frontage roads, which were realigned under the high-level bridge to meet the tunnel portals. The expressway from Drake Ave. in Westwego to Marrero was also removed, but the replacement freeway was never built because the state ran out of money after the oil bust in the mid-1980’s. The residents of Westwego, fearful of their town being cut in two by an elevated highway viaduct, also helped to kill the project. So presently traffic passing through Westwego uses what are supposed to be the frontage roads, with a wide grassy median (where the old expressway used to be) remaining as ROW for the future freeway, if the DOTD ever decides to finish it. Plans are active to finally do so, as part of the I-49 “southern” extension.
The freeway from DeGaulle to I-10, including the first Greater New Orleans Bridge (also known as the Crescent City Connection), was completed in 1958, as one of the first freeway projects in La. This section became obsolete quickly due to its old-school design (left hand exits, anyone?) and limited capacity, and consequently underwent a massive reconstruction between 1981 and 1997, when the freeway was upgraded to modern standards. This reconstruction included the construction of the parallel GNO span, completed in 1988, and Louisiana’s sole existing pair of HOV lanes, on a special elevated roadway from Loyola Avenue to DeGaulle Blvd. The original Pontchartrain Expressway extended from the river bridge to the Airline Highway exit and predates all other freeways in the area, flowing directly from what is today Business 90 to present I-10 and vice versa. That is the reason that WB I-10 merges into the line of the lakebound Business 90 freeway at its eastern terminus, and why Business 90 continues the mainline of the riverbound freeway while I-10 merges away.
Length: 229.02 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 90 Iowa
Northern terminus in La.: AR border north of Bonita
Parishes: Calc (barely), JD, Al, Rap, Gr, Las, Cald, Ou, Mor
Multilane sections: Southern Alexandria to Pollock; JCT Bus US 165, Richwood to east side of Bastrop (this is constantly changing as new segments of dual carriageway are gradually opened)
Multiplexes: LA 497, Forest Hill; US 71, Alexandria to Pineville; LA 1204, Ball; LA 8, Pollock; LA 524 north of Pollock; LA 500, Georgetown; LA 4, Columbia; LA 2, Sterlington to Mer Rouge
A major route linking the southwest, central, and northeast parts of La. and three of the state’s major regional centers, US 165 remains an important transportation corridor for the most part in the modern interstate age, despite the fact that most of it remains two lanes. From Alexandria to Bastrop the entire route is slated to be four-laned in the coming years, as a project to be funded as part of the TIMED program. North of Bastrop most through traffic uses US 425, as it is a more direct route to Arkansas and the cities of Pine Bluff and Little Rock. From Alexandria south to LA 3265 in Woodworth, I-49 parallels the highway closely. The short stretch south of I-10 to US 90 in Iowa is also little used by through traffic. Otherwise, though, 165 functions as a primary through route in La., linking Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Monroe, and also serves as an important trucking corridor.
US 165 was created as an original US highway in 1926, and followed roughly its present alignment in La. There were some variations, however. South of Alexandria, LA 1152 and 1153 near Oakdale may have served as older alignments, and LA 497 from Glenmora to Forest Hill definitely did.
In Alexandria US 165 followed a course that approximates the present business route: Masonic Street to Lee Street, thence north to Bolton Avenue, thence west to Murray Street, thence through downtown to the old Red River bridge, which survived into the 1970’s (the present Business 165 crossing is two blocks upstream at Jackson St.), thence through Pineville along Main Street and the present Business US 165 to Tioga, where modern US 165 meets the original alignment at JCT Business US 165. The present Macarthur Blvd. bypass was constructed in the 1950’s (but was first signed as Bypass 165).
North of Alexandria, the old alignment veers from the modern one at Pollock, and modern LA 524 follows much of it to Breezy Hill, where it continues as a local road, with a break south of Georgetown. In Georgetown LA 502 duplicates old 165, and thence continues north from the town as a local road again to Tullos, where it becomes a state maintained route again and continues past Olla to Standard as LA 125. Modern US 165 was straightened from Pollock to Olla in the forties.
In Caldwell Parish the old route probably followed PR 792 and LA 843 to Kelly, then LA 506 east to PR 711, then PR 711 north to PR 713, then LA 844 through the town of Clarks. PR 209 north of Columbia is another probable old alignment. From that point north to Richwood there have been no changes.
US 165 entered Monroe from the south along the present business route on Jackson Street. It followed Jackson to downtown, where it became Third St., and followed Third north to a junction with Louisville Avenue/US 80. By 1955 it approached from the south via Grand Street and passed through downtown on Walnut Street. Then as the business route does today, 165 multiplexed with 80 eastward on Louisville. The through town routing persisted until the completion of the 165 expressway in the 1960’s, which passes to the east of central Monroe (Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.). I believe this was first signed as Bypass 165 (La. apparently had a penchant for designating bypass routes as opposed to business routes in those days [50s-60s] – this may explain the rarity of business routes in the state today).
Originally US 165 followed US 80 farther eastward to present LA 139, then followed 139 north to Bastrop. In the 1930’s US 165 was placed on its present alignment from Monroe to Bastrop via Sterlington. Before the 1960’s and the construction of the present Martin Luther King Blvd., mainline 165 used the short LA 3275 in Monroe.
North of Bastrop to Arkansas, there have been no major alignment changes.
Business US 165 – Alexandria
Length: 7.81 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 71/165 Alexandria, at the traffic circle
Northern terminus: JCT US 165, Tioga
Multilane sections: From southern terminus to north end of the Red River bridge, Pineville (?)
Multiplexes: All in Alexandria: Business US 167, Mason St./Overton St. couplet; LA 1/LA 28, Bringhurst St. and Bolton Avenue
Business US 165 was created in the 1960s (?) after US 165 proper was routed to a city bypass routing along Macarthur Boulevard. Functions to channel central area-bound traffic on US 165 north and south of the city to central Alexandria and Pineville. The route is somewhat less relevant today due to the completion of I-49 from the south, which parallels mainline 165 south of Alexandria and siphons traffic from it, then taking it directly to downtown; and the US 167 freeway from the north, which similarly siphons traffic off of 165 and its business route, and, also leading directly to downtown, effectively serves as a faster bypass of the surface business route through Pineville.
In the beginning, it ran much as it does today, except that it used Murray Street through downtown (how, I have no idea: the street is pretty narrow IIRC and does not look like a good candidate for a main highway routing), the former Murray St. crossing of the Red River, and the first few blocks of Pineville’s Main Street well into the 1970’s. It may have also used Lee Street in the early years in the area just south of downtown, one block to the west of the present Mason/Overton couplet. Otherwise there have been no changes.
Business US 165 – Monroe
Length: 7.29 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 165, Richwood, at an interchange
Northern terminus: JCT US 165, Monroe
Multilane sections: From south Monroe through the city to northern terminus
Multiplexes: All in Monroe: LA 15, Civic Center Blvd. and N. 4th Street/N. 5th St. couplet; US 80, Louisville Avenue
Approximating the original US 165 through Monroe, this business route was born in the 1960’s when mainline 165 was diverted to an eastern bypass of central Monroe (Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.; briefly had been Bypass US 165). Interestingly, original 165 had vacated this route sometime between 1939 and 1955 (see above), but the business route took the older alignment. Civic Center Blvd. was completed in the 1970’s, diverting the business route (and LA 15) from a downtown couplet along Hall and Catalpa Streets (south of Desiard St.) and North 4th and North 5th Streets (north of Desiard.).
For a city of 53,107 (2000 census), there isn’t much to say about Monroe, other than that it is the ugliest place that I have ever seen. :-0
Length: 241.91 miles
Southern terminus: JCT LA 14 Abbeville
Northern terminus in La.: AR border @ Junction City
Parishes: Verm, Lafy, St L, Ev, Rap, Gr, Wi, Jac, Lin, Un, grazes Cl
Multilane sections: Southern terminus @ LA 14 in Abbeville to just past JCT LA 10 south of Washington; JCT US 71 south of Lecompte to JCT US 71 Timber Trails; through Winnfield; through Ruston (as new dual carriageway route is completed, this will change)
Multiplexes: A whole lot: LA 92, Maurice; US 90, Lafayette, I-49, Lafayette to Nuba (exit 23); LA 10, south of Washington to Ville Platte; LA 103, east of Ville Platte; LA 29, Ville Platte; US 71, south of Lecompte to south of Alexandria; I-49, Alexandria; LA 1, Alexandria; LA 28, Alexandria to Pineville; US 71, Tioga to Timber Trails; US 84 & LA 34, Winnfield; LA 4, Jonesboro; LA 147, Jonesboro to Hodge; LA 155, Hilltop to Quitman; US 80, Ruston; US 63, Ruston to AR border @ Junction City; LA 146, Ruston to Vienna; LA 822, between Vienna & Dubach; LA 151, Dubach; LA 2, Bernice (Whew!)
The third-longest US highway in La., US 167 bisects the state from south to north through its midsection, connecting Lafayette with Alexandria and points north. South of Lafayette it functions as the main route between Vermillion Parish and the Lafayette urban area, ending at a junction with a state route in Abbeville, the only place in La. where a US route ends at a SR. Between Lafayette and Alexandria its importance has dwindled since the completion of I-49 and it now lives on as a quiet country road with minimal through traffic, except for the places where it is piggybacked onto I-49 itself. From Alexandria northward, US 167 remains an important through corridor to Arkansas, serving the central part of northern La. and towns such as Ruston and Winnfield. The highway sees full freeway status as an independent route from downtown Alexandria north to nearly the Rapides/Grant Parish line. All of 167 from Alexandria to Arkansas is slated for four-laning as a project under the state’s TIMED program.
US 167 was created as an original US route in 1926, and began in La., but its route was about half as long and somewhat different. The original southern terminus was at US 71 at Aloha, north of Colfax in Grant Parish, at the modern intersection of US 71 and LA 471. It then followed LA 471 north to Atlanta (no, not that Atlanta!), then north on LA 34 to Winnfield, where it continued north on its present routing to Arkansas.
In 1931, 167 was removed from its Aloha-Winnfield alignment and shifted to the east, to traverse south from Winnfield along the pre-1955 LA 99, which remains its present alignment, to a terminus at US 71 (now LA 3225) north of Alexandria, near Tioga.
In 1949, US 167 was extended south again, this time to Abbeville, where the route ends today. From the old terminus southward it followed US 71 south to Lecompte, on these present routes:
• LA 3225 (Old US 71) to Tioga
• US 71/Shreveport Hwy., then US 71/165 to JCT LA 1 in Alexandria
• In Alexandria: LA 1 (Bolton Ave.), Lee St. (local), Business US 167 (Lee St. Extension)
• US 71 (Macarthur Blvd.)
• West St., a local road
• LA 470 and 456
From Lecompte to the present JCT LA 10 north of Opelousas, 167 followed the present alignment. From there south to Lafayette, it followed present LA 182. In Lafayette, 167 followed the routing of US 90 through town (see the US 90 listing for details) to Johnston Street, thence southwest and south on its present Johnston St. routing to the terminus in Abbeville. The route was later moved to University Ave. (present LA 182) in the Lafayette area.
Later reroutings in the Alexandria area:
• In the 1950’s, Macarthur Blvd. was built as a bypass around the southern portion of Alexandria. After a period of being designated as Bypass US 167 (among other things), US 167 was diverted onto it, along with US 71 and 165. This also saw the birth of a Business US 71 (important to the story later). From 1949 through this period, there was indeed a 71/165/167 multiplex in Alexandria.
• The next realignment took place in 197x. The Business US 71 designation was killed, and 167 was re-realigned along its former path along Lee St. (Extension) and Mason/Overton Sts., thence north through the railroad underpass to a couplet comprised of Winn and Fulton Streets. The Winn/Fulton couplet led to the recently completed Red River freeway bridge, which at the time was the southern end of the new Pineville Expressway, actually a freeway (former LA 3026). US 167 then utilized the expressway to its then-northern end at US 71/Shreveport Highway in Tioga. Later the expressway was extended to bypass the portion of Shreveport Highway that is now LA 3225.
• In 1994, US 167 was moved again, this time along I-49 from the US 71/167 exit south of the city, northward to an extended Pineville Expressway at a new downtown interchange. The bypassed segment along Lee and Mason/Overton was designated Business US 167, presumably to keep it in the state highway system (why BUS US 167, of all things? who knows? It goes nowhere near downtown!).
In the late 1960’s, US 167 was rerouted between Opelousas and Lafayette on a four-lane divided highway alignment, which was originally constructed similarly to the present US 90 expressway in Iberia Parish so it could be easily improved to freeway quality. In Lafayette this route tied into the Evangeline Thruway and 167 was moved onto the thruway to Johnston Street. In the mid 1970’s this four-lane alignment was directly upgraded from I-10 northward to full freeway, becoming the first completed portion of I-49. US 167 has been cosigned with I-49’s first 23 miles ever since.
Business US 167 – Alexandria
Length: 4.99 miles
Southern terminus: JCT I-49/US 71-167, south Alexandria
Northern terminus: JCT I-49/US 167, central Alexandria
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: All in Alexandria: US 71, Macarthur Blvd; Business US 165, Mason & Overton Streets; LA 1 & 28, Fulton Street
Created in 1994 from the old surface routing of US 167 in Alexandria (Macarthur Blvd., Lee St., Mason/Overton couplet) before it was diverted onto I-49. Presumably this designation was chosen in order to save the DOTD from having to change any signs, just adding a “BUSINESS” banner to the existing US 167 signs (LOL). Of course it is a stupid designation. You would expect a business route to serve the downtown area. Not this one! This designation is pointless, IMO.
Length: 178.95 miles
Southern terminus: JCT US 90/LA 14 Lake Charles
Northern terminus: JCT US 79-80/LA 3094 Shreveport
Parishes: Calc, Be, Vern, Sa, De, Cad
Multilane sections: Southern terminus in Lake Charles to Calcasieu River bridge near Moss Bluff; JCT LA 26 south of De Ridder to JCT LA 111 Anacoco; JCT LA 5 Gloster to northern terminus in Shreveport
Multiplexes: US 190, from southern Beauregard Parish to De Ridder; LA 8, Leesville; LA 6, Many; US 84, Mansfield; LA 5, Gloster
The only intrastate US highway in La., US 171 still serves as a major corridor in the western tier of the state, connecting Shreveport and Lake Charles and providing access to the Toledo Bend Reservoir recreational area and the Fort Polk military base near Leesville. This route is a vital truck corridor, and is slated for four-laning under the TIMED program. For some reason, it does not meet its parent in Shreveport, though it does come close.
Created in 1926 as an original US highway, US 171 has always been an intrastate route. The original southern terminus was at the current LA 14/BUS US 90 intersection in Lake Charles, a few blocks south of its current location. When US 90 was moved to the Fruge St. alignment, US 171 was slightly truncated. The portion from Mansfield to Shreveport is part of the old Jefferson Highway. The original route ran much as it does today, with one major difference: Between Many and Mansfield, 171 followed present LA 175 via Pleasant Hill. This alignment was altered to the present routing by the 1930’s. In Shreveport, instead of Hearne Avenue, 171 used the bypassed northern portion of Mansfield Road to its junction with US 79/80 (Texas Avenue), then probably multiplexed with 79/80 to a terminus at US 71 in downtown Shreveport.
Other known places where older alignments, now local roads, have been bypassed are: north of Lake Charles; south of Mansfield (where an Old 171 Road parallels the highway on the other side of the railroad tracks); Stonewall; south of Shreveport in Keithville.
My suggestion: Since AASHTO dislikes intrastate US routes less than 300 miles long, and with 171 certainly falling into that category, I propose to eliminate 171 by truncating US 71 at Shreveport and re-extending it along 171 to Lake Charles. This would accomplish three purposes:
• It would make 71 useful again south of Shreveport, since the present route south from there has been effectively replaced by IH 49;
• It would comply with AASHTO’s requirements, and;
• It would correspond better to the national routing of US 71. Right now, 71 is essentially a diagonal route in La., where it runs straight north-south elsewhere.
Length: 280.67 miles
Western terminus in La.: TX border at Sabine River bridge west off Merryville
Eastern terminus: JCT US 90 east of Slidell
Parishes: Be, Al, JD, Ev & Ac (sits on boundary), St L, PC, WBR, EBR, Liv, Tan, St T
Multilane sections: JCT LA 3226 west of De Ridder to JCT LA 26 east of De Ridder; Basile to JCT LA 16/1031 Denham Springs; through Hammond; JCT LA 21/36 Covington to JCT LA 22 Mandeville; through Slidell (Gause Blvd.)
Multiplexes: US 171, De Ridder to southern Beauregard Parish; LA 95, east of Eunice; LA 103, Port Barre; LA 1, Erwinville to north of Port Allen; US 61, Baton Rouge; LA 16, Denham Springs; LA 1026, between Denham Springs and Walker; LA 63, Livingston; Business US 51, Hammond; LA 434, Lacombe
The second longest US highway in La., and the only east-west US route to end in the state, US 190 stretches the length and breadth of the southern tier of the state, from prairie to swampland. East of Baton Rouge it serves as the local alternate to I-12, carrying light traffic overall; with the exception of the Mandeville, Covington, and Slidell portions, where it functions as an inadequate primary arterial for these fast-growing suburban areas, and as such is often congested. (190 is still only a two-lane highway through Mandeville and Covington. :-0) US 190 is full freeway from LA 22 to I-12 in the Mandeville vicinity. In Baton Rouge 190 also serves high levels of local traffic.
West of Baton Rouge to Opelousas, 190 is a divided highway and, despite the nearness of I-10, still a vital trucking route, and is often used as a cutoff between Baton Rouge and Opelousas due to the out-of-the-way nature of the I-10/49 route through Lafayette for north Louisiana-bound traffic. The divided highway continues westward to near Basile, but west of Opelousas the highway is far quieter and less traveled.
US 190 was created as an original US route in 1926, as a totally intrastate highway within La. The eastern terminus was at US 90 (now US 11) in Slidell, and the western terminus was at the old North Street ferry landing in downtown Baton Rouge. Between those points there was little variation from today’s route, except where noted:
• The westernmost segment in Baton Rouge used the whole of LA 426 (Old Hammond Highway) to enter the Baton Rouge area. It followed the contemporary routing of US 61 and North Street to its western terminus (see US 61 listing for details).
• Between Denham Springs and Walker, 190 likely used present LA 1027 at one time.
• In Covington, it utilized the present business route (21st and Boston Sts.)
• North of Mandeville, there was a smoother transition from the two-lane segment to the present freeway (buries the original alignment) via LA 3228 (Ashbury Drive).
• There are older alignments, now local streets, in Lacombe at the vicinity of the Bayou Lacombe crossing.
In 1935, US 190 was extended west to Texas along the newly completed US 71 Relocation/State Highway 7. Through Baton Rouge it followed old US 61 (Government Street, 19th Street), to North Street, then followed North Street to the river, where 190 crossed at the now-defunct Baton Rouge-Port Allen ferry crossing. On the other side, 190 met US 71, and multiplexed with it to Krotz Springs, via present LA 76 & 415 to Lobdell, and thence the present route (more or less) westward. Until 1938, US 190 utilized the present LA 26 between Elton and De Ridder. The present four-lane alignment, dating to the 1950’s, does not always duplicate the two-lane original; an “Old US 190” can be found just to the south of the US 71/190 interchange.
In 1937, when US 90 was put on a straighter routing from the Rigolets to Mississippi, US 190 was extended south from Slidell along old 90 (present US 11 and LA 433), multiplexed with US 11, to a new eastern terminus at the modern US 90/LA 433 junction.
In 1940, US 190 was routed over the recently-completed Mississippi River bridge just north of Baton Rouge. This bridge is similar to the Huey Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish as it is a combined road/rail crossing with narrow travel lanes. The Airline Highway bypass of Baton Rouge south to the current LA 73 "Y" interchange, and the current Florida Blvd. alignment extending eastward from the BR city center was completed at the same time, and US 190 was moved onto these roads in its current configuration. The 1940’s also saw the realignment of the route directly east from Slidell, along present US 11 (Front Street) and Business 190 (Fremaux Avenue) to the modern east terminus at US 90.
The 1950’s saw the completion of the Covington Bypass; the birth of the Covington business route came later. See US 61 History for routing information in and around Baton Rouge around this time. Later, in the 1970’s, US 190 was rerouted in Slidell along Gause Blvd. (former LA 1092) and Military Road, and the Front/Fremaux alignment became Business US 190. The 1980’s saw the upgrading of US 190 into freeway north of Mandeville from LA 22 to I-12, and subsequent realigning near the LA 22 exit, leaving LA 3228 on the old alignment.
The four cloverleaf interchanges along Airline Highway in the Baton Rouge area were completed as thus:
Airline at Scenic Highway (US 61/BUS US 61-190): 1940 (making this the oldest true interchange in the state!)
Airline at Plank Road (LA 67): ca. 1968
Airline at Greenwell Springs Road (LA 37): ca. 1969
Airline at Florida Boulevard: 1967 (formerly a traffic circle, which must have been fun to navigate)
The official state maps of the period also show that US 190 followed US 51 and LA 22 between Hammond via Pontchatoula to Mandeville for a time in the late 1950’s.
Spur US 190 – Kinder
Length: 0.07 miles
Western terminus: JCT US 190 Kinder
Northern terminus: JCT US 165, Kinder
Multilane sections: None known
A short connector between US 190 and US 165 in Kinder, and an older routing of 190 proper. Besides this spur US route, Kinder is otherwise known for its Indian casino, COUSHATTA!
Business US 190 – Baton Rouge
Length: 10.89 miles
Western terminus: JCT US 61/190, northern Baton Rouge
Northern terminus: JCT US 61/190, eastern Baton Rouge
Multilane sections: Entire route
Multiplexes: Entirety with Business US 61
This route duplicates Business US 61 in Baton Rouge. It is listed in the official route log as Business 61 only. The route is kind of pointless since it is a duplicate designation, and because no one really follows it anymore. (See Business US 61 for more info.)
Business US 190 – Covington
Length: 3.62 miles
Western terminus: JCT US 190, western Covington
Eastern terminus: JCT US 190, eastern Covington
Parishes: St T
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: LA 21, downtown Covington to near east terminus
This is the old route of 190 through Covington until 196x when the Covington bypass was given the mainline US 190 designation. Consists of 21st and Boston Streets. Passes through downtown Covington, the seat of fast-growing St. Tammany Parish.
Business US 190 – Slidell
Length: 1.80 miles (official, actually longer)
Western terminus: JCT US 11, downtown Slidell
Eastern terminus: (by signage) JCT US 190 east of Slidell
Parishes: St T
Multilane sections: None
Created in the 1970’s when 190 was routed onto Gause Blvd., which is a busy multilane thoroughfare and has a direct connection with I-10. The east end technically is located at the overpass (soon to be interchange) with I-10 (how absurd is that?), but is definitely signed past there to meet 190 again at the eastern junction. Hell, if it didn’t, it would be an orphan (!), as its western end is at US 11/Front Street and doesn’t return to 190; don’t go looking for signage for this route along US 11 up to US 190 either, because it isn’t there. This route is crazy.
Length: 82.68 miles (actually longer)
Southern terminus: Officially: JCT US 84 Coushatta; Actually: JCT IH 49 near Evelyn
Northern terminus in La.: AR border @ Springhill
Parishes: De, RR, Bi, Web
Multilane sections: Along IH 20, from Minden to Dixie Inn
Multiplexes: [LA 177, JCT IH 49 to JCT US 84/LA 1; LA 1, Gahagan to Armistead: US 84, Gahagan to Coushatta]; US 71, Coushatta to Edgefield; I-20, Minden to Dixie Inn; LA 2, Sarepta
US 371 is the newest US highway in La., born in 1994 as a branch route of US 71 extending from Coushatta, LA to De Queen, AR. Why it was created is a mystery to me (Shreveport bypass?) but all the evidence points to the AHTD’s machinations. (Hey, give AASHTO credit for giving it a normal, non-violating number, unlike many of its recent US highway creations. :-0) In La., the route replaced and eliminated LA 179 in Coushatta, and LA 7 from Edgefield to Arkansas.
The south end is in flux. Officially the route ends at US 84 in Coushatta, but is actually signed in the field along US 84 and LA 177 as far as the I-49/LA 177 interchange near Evelyn. It wasn’t immediately signed from I-49, giving you an idea as to whose mind this route sprang from, and the LaDOTD’s opinion of it. ;-) The DOTD has plans to build a direct road alignment, special for US 371, from the US 84/371/LA 1 junction at Armistead to the IH 49/LA 177 interchange, getting rid of the annoying jog in the route.
My suggestion: What was wrong with LA 7 for this route? From here, you should be able to guess my line of thought.
Length: 17.05 miles (as of 2002 – currently MUCH longer)
Southern terminus in La.: MS border at Vidalia
Northern terminus in La.: AR border north of Bastrop
Multilane sections: From MS stateline to I-20 junction (when all construction is completed on the route)
Multiplexes: US 165/LA 2, Bastrop to Mer Rouge; LA 15, Archibald to Ferriday; LA 4, Winnsboro; LA 128, Gilbert;
Created in 1989, US 425 originally extended from the AR stateline south to end at US 165 in Bastrop, replacing part of LA 139. In 2005 it was extended southward through Winnsboro and Ferriday into Mississippi (see below). US 425, unlike its younger cousin US 371, actually serves a useful purpose: it serves as the major route from the southeastern part of the state to the major centers in Arkansas So the rationale for the route is good. BUT THE NUMBER!!!!!!! AAARRG!!!!
In July 2005, LaDOTD and Mississippi DOT successfully petitioned AASHTO to extend US 425 southward along:
• US 165/LA 2 (creating a rare triplex)
• part of LA 133
• LA 137 (eliminating this route completely)
• LA 15 (creating a verrry long concurrency)
• and US 65
to a new southern terminus at the US 61/84 junction in Natchez, MS (where US 65 formerly ended). This included the truncation of US 65 at Clayton, LA. The official rationale for this turn of events was to reduce the number of designations on the main route between Baton Rouge and Little Rock from 7 to 3.
While such a move may make sense from that perspective, it adds legitimacy to a number that, in my and many other roadgeeks’ opinion, SMELLS LIKE ROTTEN EGGS!!!! I feel that this does a sacrilege to US 65, a venerable original 1926 US highway, which is now forced to end at a 3dus imposter route born in the not-so-distant year of 1989. I concur with my roadgeek colleague Dale Sanderson of US Highways Ends fame that this would have been better served with a rerouted US 65.
Shields for US 425 had replaced US 65 signage along the new extension by September 2006, after the usual time lag (this is DOTD we're talking about, what did you expect?).
This constitutes the most substantial alteration of the US highway system in La. since 1951 when US 11, 51, and 65 were truncated from New Orleans to eliminate redundant concurrencies.