I-14 corridor added to infrastructure package, would run through Leesville
LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - I-14 is currently just a 25-mile route in Central Texas, connecting Fort Hood and Killeen to Interstate 35 at Belton. Now, the intention is to expand it from West Texas all the way to Georgia.
For Vernon Parish, I-14 would mean an opportunity for economic growth, along with increasing the height of Burr’s Ferry Bridge, which crosses the Sabine River and connects Texas Highway 63 and Louisiana Highway 8 in order to allow more commercial traffic to go through Leesville.
”Right now the height of that bridge is only twelve-foot-three, which restricts a lot of the commercial traffic coming from Texas into Leesville,” Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said. “So just adding that bridge in, which will be the new I-14 corridor, is going to be huge to get commercial traffic into Leesville.”
The I-14 corridor would also connect military bases across five states, which would provide a strategic military impact. Fort Polk, for example, would have connections to the ports of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. This would enhance the training of the soldiers and increase the deployment options available. During hurricane season, the interstate would also provide Louisiana with a high elevation alternative to I-10, which is typically out of service from congestion or flooding.
The Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition has been working for nearly 20 years on getting I-14 fully congressional designated. One of its chair members is Leesville native Malcolm Morris, who has an idea of where I-14 would cross in the city.
”The most likely place is somewhere near the traffic circle, because that’s where 171, 8 and 28 come together. It’s not likely that it will go south of that because of all the infrastructure that’s already there,” he said.
But, does Morris believe it will come to fruition anytime soon?
”The only thing here is we’re waiting to see what happens with Congress and my crystal ball is about as foggy as anybody’s on that particular subject,” he said.
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