The state Department of Transportation and Development is getting serious about getting the I-49 South project done—that's why Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel says state officials held a task force meeting about on Thursday in Patterson.
“They really are starting to look at getting down into the nitty gritty details of design,” says Durel.
Details, Durel says, like the piece of I-49 that will connect I-10 to Lafayette Regional Airport, which DOTD announced on Thursday will be one of the most expensive parts of the entire project and is already swinging into motion.
“We're buying property that we knew we're going to have to acquire that are in the footprint of the facility. We're buying those on a voluntary basis right now,” says DOTD Deputy Secretary Eric Kalivoda.
Moving from the airport down towards Broussard, DOTD continues to examine each intersection along the future I-49 corridor.
“We're doing some work on the Ambassador Caffery interchange and we're going to have a design bill project on Albertson Parkway to just over the railroad tracks,” says Kalivoda.
Kalivoda says Iberia Parish is nearly interstate ready, with only a railroad crossing left to complete.
He says funding for the project is coming from the $7.5 million allocated from state legislators and some federal money, which Durel says keeps spending grounded.
“Rather than trying to finance a $400 million or a $500 million piece of that (road) they might have better luck financing a $30 million overpass,” says Durel.
Durel says even if the corridor doesn't come to fruition, the overpasses won't go to waste.
“Even though they're not part of an interstate they are a future piece of the interstate, but if the road never became an interstate those overpasses still move traffic and still save lives,” says Durel.