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I-49 South through Lafayette


Does anyone know if there has been a decision made on how I-49 will run through Lafayette to join up with the sections of US 90 being upgraded to interstate standards? It looks like through downtown there are some houses and some fast food establishments that will need to be condemned if I-49 goes through downtown along Evangeline Thwy.

There was a website linked to the LaDOTD site with the plans for it.

Here is the website for the project:

As it stands right now, the I-49 Connector project is in limbo until they resolve the issue of how to fund it.

Also, another issue was raised during the design process over how much spacing would be allowed between the elevated structures that would carry the mainlanes.  The original designers wanted a nearly 20' median space, but the engineers allowed for only a 1' spacing to allow for three-lane structures within the right-of-way...the city officials cried foul, and got LaDOTD to review the plans and offer an alternative which allowed for more open space. Unfortunately, because it would require an increase in ROW takings, they would have to reevaluate whether a new EIS would be required.....and that's where matters stand right now.

In addition, they might be waiting for the feds to complete the new authorization of the transportation bill to see if they might get some more dollars. 

AFAIK, though, the state is still committed to the project and still plans to begin construction as soon as they can find a steady funding source.


Also...the proposed routing for I-49 does use the Evangeline Thruway for most of its ROW...but it does deviate to its west a bit to parallel the UP/BNSF railroad line near downtown before returning to the Thruway just north of Pinhook Road. That was done both to avoid even greater displacements along the Thruway, as well as to lessen the impact to an historical property located just adjacent to the Thruway (St. Genivieve Catholic Church and School, and Sterliing Grove Historical District). 

It was the latter group that raised plenty enough hell against routing the freeway through Lafayette proper...even to the point of filing suit against LaDOTD back in 2003 when the EIS was approved by the Feds.  They wanted a route that would bypass Lafayette completely to the east going through St. Martin Parish along the "Teche Ridge"..but their suit failed in federal court and via appeal.

Strangely enough, there has been pretty much no opposition to the planned freeway since then...and the city and state has been slowly buying out ROW as fast as the Feds issue out the money. It's just a wait and see sitch right about now.



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