Some I-49 design options eliminated

Currently, Evangeline Thruway is just a few yards from historic St. Genevieve Catholic Church. That may change when the I-49 Connector is built in Lafayette, Louisiana. Nov. 3, 2016.
(Photo: Claire Taylor/Daily Advertiser)
Currently, Evangeline Thruway is just a few yards from historic St. Genevieve Catholic Church. That may change when the I-49 Connector is built in Lafayette, Louisiana. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Claire Taylor/Daily Advertiser)

LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – Several design modifications suggested by residents for the Interstate 49 connector in Lafayette have been eliminated from consideration.

Project consultants updated the Community Working Group Thursday on the status of 23 potential design modifications.

Some recommendations from the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team working for Lafayette Consolidated Government to improve neighborhoods near the proposed interstate also have been eliminated, Vijayant Rajvanhi of AECOM consultants said.

The ETRT suggested an underpass at Taft/14th streets, he said, but that would negatively impact Freetown-Port Rico, a newly designated historic district, and will not be considered.

It’s also not viable, as requested by the ETRT, to use 12th Street to connect neighborhoods on the east and west sides of the corridor because of geometric conflicts with other streets.

Rajvanhi said the consulting team will look further at constructing a roundabout to align Castille Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

But building a railroad underpass at Pinhook Road and improving the existing interchange of I-49 and Interstate 10 both are outside the connector project limits and won’t be considered,

The connector is a 5.5-mile section of I-49 south from the terminus of I-49 at I-10 to just past Kaliste Saloom Road. It will include three travel lanes in each direction, with two 12-foot-wide shoulders in each direction. Not yet decided is whether a 1.5-mile section near downtown Lafayette will be elevated or semi-depressed.

It is feasible to raise part of an elevated interstate as high as 30 feet and, instead of only 18 inches separating the spans as originally proposed, separating them by 3 feet the length of the project, said Mike McGaugh of consulting firm Stantec.

Near downtown, the gap between spans could be widened to 10 feet. That will allow more ambient light under the interstate, which should encourage use of that space for recreation and other community activities.

Volunteers with the CWG along with the Technical Advisory Committee and Executive Committee have a week to evaluate design concepts presented to them last week and the PDMs presented this week. They’ll find out the results in two weeks.

 

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