29 January 2009

Louisiana State Highways: LA 126 to LA 150

LA 126

Length: 98.55 miles
Western terminus: LA 9, Readheimer
Eastern terminus: LA 126 north of Jonesville
Parishes: Nat, Wi, Cald, Las, Cat
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: LA 124, Rosefield; LA 8, Manifest; LA 923

Another nondescript but lengthy east-west Cenla state highway, not quite making it to Jonesville on its eastern end. Places of note served include Dodson, Sikes, and Grayson.

LA 127

Length: 55.26 miles
Southern terminus: End of state maintenance, Walker’s Ferry
Northern terminus: LA 126 east of Sikes
Parishes: Las, Cald, Wi
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: None known

This roadway tears a north-south swath through the center of Lasalle Parish, serving that cradle of idiocy, Jena. Much of the southern section is seemingly redundant as it traverses the empty wooded country of southern Lasalle Parish.

LA 128

Length: 42.14 miles
Western terminus: LA 4, Fort Necessity
Eastern terminus: LA 605, St. Joseph
Parishes: Fr, Ten
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: US 425/LA 15, Gilbert; LA 4, Como to Newlight

LA 128 is more logically thought of as two separate highways, with a fairly long concurrency via LA 4 linking the two segments. The Franklin Parish segment serves as an east-west cutoff via Gilbert as LA 4 makes a wide northern arc to serve Winnsboro. The Tensas Parish segment makes a southeasterly beeline to the quiet Mississippi River town of St. Joseph, seat of Tensas Parish.

LA 129

Length: 32.77 miles
Southern terminus: End of state maintenance at Red River levee, Acme
Northern terminus: US 84, Stacy
Parishes: Con
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: LA 565, Monterrey

This long, essentially spur like road traverses empty and vastly rural country along the Concordia Parish side of the Black River, an area of the state with seemingly more state highways than people, such as it has been blessed by the state highway gods. To be fair, a few settlements can be found along the way, including Monterrey, New Era, and the bustling metropolis of Acme.

LA 130

Length: 7.31 miles
Western terminus: LA 135, Liddieville
Eastern terminus: US 425/LA 15 and LA 4, Winnsboro
Parishes: Fr
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: None

Short but sweet, this marginally useful route spurs west from Winnsboro through cotton country for its brief routing before ending at LA 135 at a seemingly random location.

LA 131

Length: 6.78 miles
Southern terminus: LA 15, Genevieve
Northern terminus: US 84/425, Vidalia
Parishes: Con
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: None

LA 131 provides an important link as it follows the arc of the Mississippi River levee from Vidalia south to an intersection with LA 15.

LA 131 was originally a much longer road. The historical extent of LA 131 continued southward from the current terminus via current LA 15 to the end of state maintenance at the locale of Deer Park. Sometime circa 1970, when the Entergy boondoggle - excuse me, hydroelectric plant - was constructed in southern Concordia Parish, LA 15 was extended south along its current alignment and a continuation of the levee road into Pointe Coupee Parish, thus truncating LA 131 to its current length.

LA 132

Length: 32.86 miles
Western terminus: LA 133 near Buckner
Eastern terminus: LA 17 south of Delhi
Parishes: Ri, Fr
Multilane sections: With US 425/LA 15
Multiplexes: US 425/LA 15, Mangham

With the entry into the 130s in the state highway numeric range, we encroach into northeast Louisiana, sleepy Delta country. LA 132 presents a fairly typical Delta roadway as it cuts an east-west swath through agricultural country. Despite its length, it barely rises to the level of even marginal importance in the state highway scheme of things.

LA 133

Length: 57.68 miles (2002 mileage)
Southern terminus: LA 4 northeast of Columbia
Northern terminus: US 425 south of Oak Ridge
Parishes: Cald, Ri, Mor
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: US 80, Start to Girard

A lengthy north-south state route, LA 133 traverses a northeasterly trajectory from the town of Columbia through the region east of Monroe, largely paralleling the Boeuf River.

Until the subsumation of various state highways by the southern extension of US 425 in the 2006-7 timeframe, LA 133 continued north to its historical terminus at LA 2 in Mer Rouge, within bipping distance of an intersection with US 165.

LA 134

Length: 65.79 miles
Western terminus: US 165, Fairbanks
Eastern terminus: US 65, Lake Providence
Parishes: Ou, Mor, Ri, WC, EC
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: LA 139, Wham; US 425, Oak Ridge, LA 577 east of Epps

From the northern extremities of the Monroe metropolitan area, LA 134 slices through vast tracts of agricultural splendor to create a connection to the bedraggled Delta rural ghetto that is Lake Providence. Veers close to the Poverty Point aboriginal archaeological site, accessed from LA 577, which is situated a few miles to the east of Epps in West Carroll Parish.

LA 135

Length: 34.24 miles
Southern terminus: LA 4, Fort Necessity
Northern terminus: US 425 south of Rayville
Parishes: Fr, Ri
Multilane sections: None known
Multiplexes: LA 15, Alto

Though fairly lengthy, this state route passes through very little of importance as it cuts a north-south swath through the western tier of Franklin and Richland Parishes. On a slightly brighter note, it comes exceedingly close to meeting I-20 on its northern end, missing it by that much.

Parish Road 135, anyone?

LA 136

Length: 3.5 miles
Southern terminus: LA 134, Fairbanks
Northern terminus: US 165, Sterlington
Parishes: Ou
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

Why a short, insignificant road like this was given such a low number, I will never know. In any case, LA 136 extends east, then south from Sterlington along a twisting alignment to meet LA 134 at the Fairbanks community.

LA 137

Length: 17.9 miles (2002 mileage)
Southern terminus: LA 15, Archibald
Northern terminus: LA 133 south of Oak Ridge
Parishes: Ri, Mor
Multilane sections: From south terminus to north city limits of Rayville
Multiplexes: LA 584, Dehlco (very brief)

The LA 13x roads have such little luck. Either they have been diminished in length, are exasperatingly short and useless, or extend for vast distances before finding an important destination. And one of these roads, LA 137, was even wholly eliminated in the US 425 extension of 2006-7. A victim of its own success, LA 137 while it lived provided a critical link in the Baton Rouge-Little Rock corridor before its absorption into US 425 in the middle 2000s.

LA 138

Length: 12.79 miles
Southern terminus: LA 134 south of Windsor
Northern terminus: US 165/425/LA 2, Mer Rouge
Parishes: Mor
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

LA 138 pursues a rough northeasterly trajectory through southern Morehouse Parish, serving the town of Collinston and paralleling an important rail line through its length.

LA 139

Length: 20.11 miles
Southern terminus: US 80 east of Monroe
Northern terminus: US 165/425/LA 2, Bastrop
Parishes: Ou, Mor
Multilane sections: From southern terminus to JCT LA 594; in the city of Bastrop
Multiplexes: LA 134; LA 593 in Bastrop to north terminus

LA 139 serves as an alternate Monroe-Bastrop route while acting as a major arterial for those cities. On the south end, the highway is a key arterial for the eastern littoral of the Monroe area. As a sign of its importance, the junction with US 80 favors traffic flow to LA 139. Perhaps part of this route’s success stems from the fact that this was the first alignment of US 165 between the cities of Monroe and Bastrop until the middle 1930s when US 165 was changed to the current Sterlington Highway alignment.

Of other major historical note is that the extent of LA 139 was longer on this northern end originally – until 1982, LA 139 was the designation for what is now US 425 from Bastrop north to the Arkansas state line. The impetus for the US highway designation was that the alignment had become the preferred Monroe-Pine Bluff routing for through traffic. So despite its importance today, LA 139 held even greater importance in the scheme of things earlier in its life.

An oddity of this route, which is a legacy of highway changes in the area, is that the concurrency with LA 593 in Bastrop continues all the way to the northern terminus, but while LA 139 ends, LA 593 continues northward, becoming concurrent with US 425 and later branching out again upon an independent routing. (Even with the excuse, er, explanation, these pesky minor routes simply have no shame.)

LA 140

Length: 14.74 miles
Southern terminus: US 425, Log Cabin
Northern terminus: US 165, Bonita
Parishes: Mor
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

This seemingly redundant connection from the Bastrop megalopolis northeast to the town of Bonita actually provides a more direct route between the communities, so it remains an important Morehouse Parish state maintained road.

LA 141

Length: 4.25 miles
Southern section, west terminus: End of road just west of ferry landing and Gillis Long Hansen’s Disease Center
Southern section, east terminus: LA 75, Carville
Northern section, entirety: Spur from LA 75 at Carville west to the end of public maintenance
Parishes: Ibv
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

This short route in Carville, which comprises part of the river road, currently exists in two disjoint segments. Historically the entire road looping along the eastbank side of the Carville bend in the Miss. River was state highway, but at some point Elayn Hunt Correctional Center claimed the agricultural land at the tip of the river bend, along with the road’s middle section, as part of its property, and thus this currently unsealed section is no longer state maintained and closed to the public (fenced off, to be exact), leaving two short spurs jutting from LA 75. The southern spur is the more important (and perhaps even state worthy) segment, as it serves the Carville Ferry and the world famous Gillis Long Hansen’s Disease Center.

LA 142

Length: 8.77 miles
Southern terminus: US 425 near Chemin-a-Haut State Park
Northern terminus: Arkansas state line – Continues as AR 133
Parishes: Mor
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

This state road, short and sweet, merely splits from US 425 in northern Morehouse Parish and proceeds quickly to the Arkansas border, without encountering any major communities or fuss along the way, seemingly the picture of state highway irrelevance. Even so, its existence is explained as it plays a vital role in making the southern connection to the major town of Crossett, Arkansas. Even the US 425/LA 142 intersection apparently is constructed to favor traffic flow to and from LA 142, as opposed to the “through” US highway!!

LA 143

Length: 39.91 miles
Southern terminus: LA 34, West Monroe
Northern terminus: LA 33, Marion
Parishes: Ou, Un
Multilane sections: From southern terminus to north of W. Monroe city limits
Multiplexes: LA 2, Crossroads to West Sterlington

Performing what seems to be a suboptimal Monroe-El Dorado, Arkansas connection (hey, they share a television market!) LA 143 is one of those mysterious state roads that might have better been numbered with two separate designations. In this case, a narrowly lengthy east-west concurrency with LA 2 disrupts the neat southeast to northwest flow of the routing, spitting the highway functionally into two segments. On a more positive note, LA 143 can boast a unique claim to fame as it terminates at sequentially numbered state highways!

For some reason, Union Parish is included in the Monroe MSA. [scratches head]

LA 144

Length: 10.06 miles
Southern terminus: LA 34, Eros
Northern terminus: LA 151, Calhoun
Parishes: Jac, Ou
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

The vast piney wastes of north central Louisiana beckon as we delve into the bulk of the 14x state routes. LA 144 is a fairly standard specimen of this breed, connecting oddly named rural settlements in the woods to the southwest of Monroe.

LA 145

Length: 17.84 miles
Southern terminus: LA 146, Kelleys
Northern terminus: LA 15, Terrills
Parishes: Lin, Un
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

Another moderately-important state route in north central La. Highlights of the route are the town of Choudrant (junction US 80 and I-20) and the parish line hugging village of Downsville (junction LA 151).

LA 146

Length: 56.93 miles
Western terminus: US 79/LA 9, Homer
Eastern terminus: LA 4, Chatham
Parishes: Cl, Lin, Jac
Multilane sections: With US 167
Multiplexes: LA 518 in vicinity of Lake Claiborne State Park; US 63/167, Vienna to Ruston (US 63 from Vienna to I-20 interchange only); also US 80 with US 167 in Ruston

Amongst Louisiana state routes in the 14x range, LA 146 is the striver! It extends a whopping 56 miles in a vast diagonal arc from Homer through Ruston and southeast into Jackson Parish. Some of these miles are obtained through a relatively long concurrency with parts of three different US highways in the Ruston area, and here we again see the Louisiana state route which might work better with two or three different designations for separate segments.

LA 147

Length: 41.2 miles
Southern terminus: LA 34, some random point near the Wi/Jac parish line
Northern terminus: US 80, Arcadia
Parishes: Jac, Bi, Lin, Bi
Multilane sections: With US 167
Multiplexes: US 167, Jonesboro to Hodge; LA 9, Arcadia (concurrent to northern terminus)

Another road with dual personalities, LA 147 (at least its northern segment) comprises a useful link between the Jonesboro-Hodge megalopolis and the Bienville Parish seat of Arcadia.

The southern segment, spiraling south and east of Jonesboro, is seemingly random. I don’t know what’s going on there. Extend it a bit further southeast along parish roads to Sikes and you might have something useful there. Or not.

LA 148

Length: 15.74 miles
Western terminus, west segment: US 167, Clay
Eastern terminus, west segment: LA 146, Vernon
Western terminus, east segment: End of state maintenance southwest of Eros
Eastern terminus, east segment: Jackson-Ouachita parish line east of Eros (downgrades to parish road)
Parishes: Jac
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: LA 34, Eros

Don’t know what to make of this one, either. The first segment is a rather bland link between US 167 ad LA 146; the second, eastern segment consists of two useless local spurs in the Eros vicinity in northeast Jackson Parish, linked together by a concurrency with LA 34 that itself comprises about a quarter of the segment’s distance. Presumably the parish road that connects the two sections was once on the state payroll. Eviscerating a route like this reminds me of what happened to LA 120 – erasing the useful middle while leaving worthless entrails on either end.

A Ruston-Eros connection via this route may make sense from a state maintenance perspective. But if not, kill this one mercifully and quietly, please. You know how silly disjointed routes are.

LA 149

Length: 2.73 miles
Southern terminus: US 80, Grambling
Northern terminus: I-20, Grambling
Parishes: Lin
Multilane sections: None
Multiplexes: None

Got the collegiate spirit? Well, get ready to immerse yourself in the halls of ivy! LA 149 exists solely to serve Grambling State University, which pretty much comprises nearly the whole of the town of Grambling. Cutting straight through the campus on a due north-south axis, the state route is exposed to the full force of the campus precinct, crosswalks and all.

Louisiana state highways without 3xxx numbers rarely terminate at Interstate junctions, as a general rule. I would presume the extension north from junction LA 150 to Interstate 20 was performed sometime after 1955….

LA 150

Length: 8.88 miles
Western terminus: US 80/LA 563, Simsboro
Eastern terminus: US 80/167/LA 146, Ruston
Parishes: Lin
Multilane sections: In Ruston from east end through La. Tech campus
Multiplexes: LA 563 at western end

Coming dangerously close to overkill, LA 150 provides an alternative route between the communities of Ruston, Grambling, and Simsboro between the US 80 and I-20 corridors, and in the process covers much of the North Louisiana university country. In its course it manages to intersect not one, but two institutions of higher education: Grambling State and Louisiana Tech Universities. What cheer!

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