WASHINGTON — Congressional designation of the Interstate 14 Corridor across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia became a reality on Monday, with the presidential signing of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
This newly designated I-14 route runs from Midland-Odessa across Central Texas, then to Alexandria, Louisiana, Laurel, Mississippi, Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia before ending at Augusta, Georgia.
I-14 will be built primarily by upgrading existing highways in each of the states.
The first sections of the I-14 corridor in Texas were approved by Congress in 2015, and a 25-mile section of freeway from Killeen/Fort Hood to I-35 in Central Texas became I-14 in 2017.
The new bill expands the Texas designation to include San Angelo and Midland Odessa. It also includes four north-south future interstate spurs to connect I-14 to Interstate 10 and serve the Port of Corpus Christi, the Port of Houston and the ports at Beaumont and Port Arthur. It also adds a north-south spur connecting to the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi. The designation includes a future interstate loop at Bryan-College Station, designated Interstate 214.
Congressman Brian Babin of Woodville, Texas, has been carrying the I-14 legislation since entering Congress in 2015. It was successfully included in a House transportation bill passed earlier this year and became the basis of an amendment to the bipartisan infrastructure bill offered successfully in August by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
The I-14 designation had the support of all ten senators, plus every member of the House along the corridor.
The Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia state departments of transportation all provided Congress with letters supporting the new interstate corridor.
According to a press release sent to FOX 44 from the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, a significant benefit of providing interstate linkage between a dozen military facilities served by the I-14 corridor is that these connections will add to the military value of each of these installations.
Among the facilities to be better linked by I-14 are Fort Bliss at El Paso, Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Fort Hood at Killeen, Fort Polk in Louisiana, Camp Shelby at Hattiesburg, Kessler AFB at Biloxi, Maxwell AFB at Montgomery, Fort Benning at Columbus, Robins AFB at Macon, Fort Gordon near Augusta and Fort Stewart near Savannah.
In West Texas, the I-14 corridor follows SH-158 and US-87 from Midland to San Angelo, and Brady then runs east on US-190 to tie into the existing section of I-14 at Killeen. The corridor then runs east to Bryan/College Station and Huntsville, before generally following US-190 through East Texas, crossing the Sabine River on LA 8 near Fort Polk at Leesville, Louisiana.
In Louisiana, the corridor generally follows LA 28 connecting Leesville, Alexandria and Vidalia. In Mississippi, the corridor starts at Natchez and runs east following US-84 to Laurel. It runs concurrently on I-59 to Meridian and then generally follows US-80 to Montgomery, Alabama, Columbus, Georgia, and Fort Benning. From there, it follows existing routes to Warner Robins, Macon, Fort Gordon and Augusta. Spur routes connect to I-10 generally follow US 83, US 69 and US 96 in Texas and I-59 and US 49 in Mississippi.