Vieux Carre Expressway
A study in 1969 outlined an outer belt freeway system in New Orleans between the Earhart and View Carre Expressways. It included adding a new uptown Mississippi River crossing via Earhart Boulevard at Napoleon Avenue. Interstate 310 was considered as a possible designation for both expressways.
The Earhart Expressway was proposed to run east from Louisiana 49 (Williams Boulevard) near New Orleans International Airport (MSY) to the Pontchartrain Expressway along Earhart Boulevard. The Vieux Carre or Riverfront Expressway would have extended east through Downtown New Orleans to an elevated highway passing through the French Quarter along the Mississippi Riverfront.
Origins of the Vieux Carre Expressway dated back to November 1946 when New York transportation pioneer Robert Moses unveiled his “Arterial Plan for New Orleans”. This freeway would begin at Interstate 10, follow Elysian Fields Avenue (Louisiana 3021), then head southwest between the Mississippi River and Jackson Square to the Pontchartrain Expressway (U.S. 90 Business) at Downtown.1
The Vieux Carre Expressway was the most controversial aspect of the Moses arterial plan. However, criticism of the idea did not emerge until October 1964 when $25 million in funds were allocated for construction of the 3.5-mile long freeway. Prior to this time, work was already underway along a 690-foot long, 98-foot wide, six-lane tunnel. Subterranean work began between Poydras and Canal Streets in the foundations of the 1967 opened Rivergate. A heated battle ensued from there between proponents of the Riverfront Expressway and community leaders. Opposition finally won out in July 1969.2,3
Following the cancellation of the Riverfront Expressway proposal, the Earhart Expressway was rescinded westward to the Jefferson Parish line. The limited access highway within Jefferson Parish was eventually constructed. However it was only partially constructed, as an interchange between the expressway and Causeway Boulevard was omitted and the western extension to Williams Boulevard was never built. Louisiana 3139 overlays the Earhart Expressway / Boulevard east from Louisiana 3154 (Dickory Drive) to Monroe Street in New Orleans.
St. Charles Parish
Along with Interstate 510, I-310 in St. Charles Parish was included in a plan for a greater outer belt freeway around the New Orleans metropolitan area. Numbered Interstate 410, this highway was deferred and subsequently canceled. However it reemerged in the “Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan Update” issued in 2003 under an Interstate 510 project that would expand the Chalmette Bridge (LSTP-029). Connecting the I-310 and I-510 freeway spurs was considered by LADOTD as a possible solution to perennially clogged Interstate 10 between the airport and Downtown.