Nathan Stubbs

Officials renew I-49 commitment

by Nathan Stubbs

Local officials aren’t taking lightly recent comments by the state Department of Transportation Secretary William Anker that Lafayette remains “divided” on I-49 and its other major road priorities. Yesterday, City-Parish President Joey Durel, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce President Rob Guidry, state Sen. Mike Michot and a host of other officials held a press conference to re-iterate the community’s commitment to I-49 South as its top project. Guidry says, “it is certainly a challenge to stay the course and maintain intensity on multi-year, mega projects such as I-49 South.  The issue requires perseverance and attention to detail on many levels.”
The MPO Citizens Advisory, Transportation Technical and Transportation Policy Committees have unanimously approved a resolution to clarify and reaffirm the priority of the I-49 Connector/South project as having the greatest traffic impact on the Lafayette Urban Arterial Network.  The resolution has been adopted by the Lafayette City-Parish Council in its role as the MPO and also endorsed by Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and by the mayors of Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott, and Youngsville.

The completion of I-49 South between New Orleans and Lafayette has long been on the local government wish list; however, fuding for the multi-billion dollar project has been difficult to find. Next year the state plans to inch closer on the project by begining work to widen Highway 90 between Lafayette and Broussard to six lanes. One of the biggest remaining sections of I-49 will be the I-49 connector, a six-lane overpass through Lafayette with an estimated cost of $700 million. Officials are now working toward securing funds for the project in next year’s federal transportation bill.