A plan being discussed for makeover of a section of Johnston St.

After years of discussion, a plan is in the works to give a section of Johnston Street a makeover.

The idea is to beautify a half mile strip of Johnston Street to not only make it more accessible for all commuters, but to clear the clutter from one of our most heavily traveled roads. The portion of Johnston street between Cajundome Boulevard and Bertrand Drive may be getting a makeover that’s been the topic of conversation for over a decade.

“Most recently we started looking at doing something that we felt could reasonably be built without taking excessive right of way,” says engineer Melanie Bordelon with Lafayette Metro Planning Organization.

The project would include sidewalks, bike lanes for the sections that are not already equipped, and even buried power lines. Terry Huval, Director of Lafayette Utilities System, says burying power lines make for a prettier scene, but it can be costly, and LUS will not fund the project so the cost is not passed on their customers. The makeover would also include raised medians, which will narrow the lanes and reduce travel speed.

“By putting in that raised median will reduce conflict points among other things. Reduced conflict points means less chances for crashes,” says Bordelon.

LCG is working hand and hand with the Department of Transportation and Development on this pilot project. DOTD reps say the project is in its early stages but it all supports the bigger picture.

Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman, Deidra Druilhet says, “That’s all a part of the complete streets policy. Of course, making sure that we balancing the needs of not just a motorist but also motorist, transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Bordelon says the total cost of the project should range between $18-20 million that would be split between LCG, DOTD and the Lafayette Metro Planning Organization.

At Tuesday’s Lafayette city council meeting members will vote on whether to appropriate federal funds to the Johnston Street project.

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