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I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)

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back on topic please, this is not a political forum


--- Quote ---U.S. Department of Transportation Announces up to $86.6 million Loan to the Louisiana State Bond Commission for infrastructure projects in the State

Monday, August 1, 2022

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that its Build America Bureau has provided a low-interest loan for $86.6 million to the Louisiana State Bond Commission for the benefit of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) to fund the I-49 S. Ambassador Caffery/US 90 Interchange near Broussard in Lafayette Parish. The Bureau helps communities across the country reduce the costs of infrastructure projects by providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans, known as TIFIA loans, and other types of financing.

This is the last project of four from a transportation project financing package approved by the Bureau in August 2021 and funded through a British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon settlement. The project, approximately 2.4 miles in length, includes new two-lane frontage roads and construction of interchanges at US 90 and Ambassador Caffery Blvd. and US 90 and Albertson Parkway.

“This interchange project will enhance safety, improve evacuations during life-threatening weather events, and is part of an overall improvement plan that supports job creation for the region,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg.

The Louisiana leaders developed a package of projects that the Bureau was able to review and approve as a bundle, speeding up the process for each individual loan,” said Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “Three of the four projects qualified for reduced interest rates, half the treasury rate, through our Rural Projects Initiative.”

The Bureau was established as a “one-stop-shop” during the Obama Administration to help states and other project sponsors carry out infrastructure projects. The Bureau offers low-interest, long-term credit programs, technical assistance, and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021, expands project eligibility for the Bureau’s TIFIA credit program and extends maturity of the loans, giving borrowers additional flexibility.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed $38.4 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $132 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.

--- End quote ---

LADOTD announced today that construction of the Ambassador Caffery Parkway South interchange with US 90 is starting.

This includes extending one-way access roads over the LA 182/BNSF Railway crossing to south of Ambassador Caffery, and adjusting the south entry/exits to the Albertson Parkway/St. Nazaire Road interchange.

A very interesting development in the Lafayette Connector project.

LADOTD's Consultant Contracts page -- where they list potential bid letting for contracts for construction and design -- now includes a potential future contract which is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2023 for "US 167 Interchange with Willow Street". That would be the Willow Street interchange that is the northern portion of the Lafayette Connector project.

It is included twice: first for design and construction with a Notice of Intent scheduled to be issued in the 1Q of 2023 (January through March); and again in a separate potential contract for "Owner Verification Services" scheduled for the 2Q (April through June) of next year.

That's quite interesting timing, considering that LADOTD hasn't yet even released the Draft Supplemental EIS for the Connector project yet; it was supposed to be finalized and released to the public in July, with the Draft SEIS Public Hearing already being held in August. Nothing on the official Connector website ( as of yet on when the Draft SEIS will be released and available for the public, either.

For the record the entire list of future projected advertisements for letting can be found here (scroll down a bit for the Willow Street listings):

Today, groundbreaking took place for the start of construction of the Ambassador Caffery Parkway South interchange with US 90 that is a continuation of the US 90 to I-49 South upgrade in lower Lafayette Parish. Governor John Bel Edwards and many state and local officials were there for the ceremony.

That particular project would extend the upgrade of US 90 to 6-lane Interstate freeway standards to just south of Ambassador Caffery Parkway, extend 2-lane one-way frontage/access roads over the BNSF/UP railroad mainline and LA 182 to connect with ACPS, modify ramp connections between the mainlanes and the frontage roads, and construct a mainline overpass of US 90/Future I-49 over the ACPS, with a connection to Zoosiana (the former Zoo of Acadiana). There have been some talks of a proposed extension of ACPS to LA 182, but it's very preliminary as of now.

This article in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser (behind a paywall) contains quotes from local officials on the project's impacts and the possible future funding for other parts of the I-49 South upgrade, including the segment through Lafayette proper.


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