The Loyola Avenue streetcar line is now operating from the Union Passenger Terminal at Howard Avenue to Canal Street. While much has been made of it serving merely to shuttle tourists to the Superdome, it could serve residents as well.

Federal and city officials will gather at the Union Passenger Terminal today to kick off service on the new Loyola Avenue streetcar line. Special stops are planned along the mile-and-a-half route.

Because of the magnitude of special events surrounding Super Bowl and a full slate of parades associated with New Orleans' carnival season, state transportation officials say they are suspending lane closures on all bridges, freeways, expressways and arterial roadways near those activities.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says the suspension will be in place form 8 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Baton Rouge tourism and airport officials are preparing for a large influx of traffic through the city because of the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3.

Some of the heaviest traffic will come through Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, where officials and businesses are expecting as many as 250 additional planes that will need to be parked during the event.

State officials say more than $668 million was spent on roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure during 2012.

Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Sherri LeBas says the money went to 372 improvement projects on more than 1,000 miles of roadways and 71 bridges in Louisiana.

LeBas said the state has reduced the backlog of road and bridge needs by nearly $2 billion. The department is responsible for more than 16,000 miles of roadway.

The bridge that crosses the Houma Navigation Canal at South Van Avenue in Houma will be closed to vehicle traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday while crews work on the bridge.

The Courier reports the work, by state transportation workers, is part of a multimillion-dollar rehabilitation.

Alternate routes include the Houma Tunnel and the downtown Houma Twin Spans.

The new year is bringing free rush-hour tow trucks to help keep traffic flowing on one of the nation's busiest bridges.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says a tow truck will be stationed on the Crescent City Connection Bridge for three hours in the morning and three in the evening on weekdays.

The department says in a news release that the bridge is the nation's fifth busiest, with more than 156,000 vehicles crossing it daily and more than 33 million a year.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway commuters should see the new year get off to a good start with an expanded north shore toll plaza.

At some point in January, bridge General Manager Carlton Dufrechou tells The Times-Picayune a fifth tollbooth and lane should be open for business at the Mandeville end of the bridge, helping the flow of traffic getting onto the 24-mile span.

Supporters of completing Interstate 49 from Lafayette to New Orleans are working to pull together a nonprofit coalition with a full-time executive director to help move the project forward.

State Sen. R.L. Allain II tells The Advocate two key factors in the renewed push to complete I-49 south will be soliciting more involvement from the industries that depend on the highway and hiring a full-time director to keep the effort focused and on track.

City Administrator Pete Panepinto says Hammond's Northshore Airport is getting ready for the NFL's Super Bowl, set for Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

Mayor Mayson Foster tells The Advocate that the airport expects to be the third-busiest in Louisiana during Super Bowl week, handling more than 100 aircraft.