Bertrand and Camellia are about to become more beautiful

Rendering of the gridshell pavilion designed by UL Lafayette students for Camellia Boulevard. (Photo: Submitted art)

Pedestrians and bicyclists will find it easier to travel along a section of Bertrand Drive near the university athletic complex with action approved by the Lafayette City-Parish Council Tuesday.

The council also agreed to proceed with a public art project on Camellia Boulevard.

Lafayette was awarded more than $400,000 to implement its proposed Bertrand Drive Streetscape project, which was approved for inclusion in the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program for 2014-2016.

The TAP program is funded through the federal government to improve walking and bicycling facilities.

The grant covers sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and more, said Kevin Blanchard, Lafayette Consolidated Government public works director.

The project will affect Bertrand Drive from Johnston Street to South College near the University of Louisiana at Lafayette athletic complex.

In May 2014, Blanchard brought the Build a Better Block initiative to Bertrand Drive, transforming it for one day into a two-lane walkable, bikeable roadway where traffic slowed considerably.

That vision should become a reality in 4-5 years.

The project is expected to cost about $582,000. LCG’s contribution will be about $116,000 and the federal share is about $465,600.

Blanchard said the council already budgeted $700,000 for that stretch of Bertrand Drive.

Also on Tuesday, the council approved an agreement with UL and the Acadiana Center for the Arts for construction of a three-dimensional piece of art that will provide shade and seating along Camellia Boulevard.

The project is called a gridshell pavilion and it’s more art than pavilion, City-Parish President Joey Durel said.

UL architecture students designed the pavilion and will do much of the construction thanks to a $25,000 grant that is UL’s share of a $2.5 million Acadian partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, said Geoff Gjertson, a UL architecture professor who is spearheading the project.

The pavilion is expected to be located in the 400 block of Camellia Boulevard, bordered by Mount Vernon Drive to the south and two Camellia Boulevard exit lanes onto Mount Vernon Drive to the east and west.

It should be built this summer.

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