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Author Topic: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)  (Read 11563 times)

Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2021, 01:46:45 AM »


Bumping this thread for a major update, because it's been quite a while.


LADOTD and the team handling the I-49 Lafayette Connector project's Functional Corridor/CSS/Supplemental EIS studies are currently holding the second phase of workshops leading up to a series of public meetings to be held near October.


From what I've seen from the output, some decisions have been made and the proposed alignment is closer to being finalized.


They have decided to go with the "grand boulevard" approach for the segment of the Evangeline Thruway not under the I-49 freeway ROW. The boulevard will utilize the ROW of the southbound Thruway roadway as a 2x2 boulevard with all the Complete Streets goodies for walking and pedestrians; the existing northbound Thruway roadway will be converted to a two-way local street and transferred over to the City of Lafayette.


There are 2 options still on the table for handling cross street intersections with the Thruway: a signalized option where major intersections have signal lights; and a roundabout option where the major crossings are converted to roundabouts.


They have also decided to use the option where the access ramp to downtown from southbound I-49 is pushed further south to connect with Second Street, and with Simcoe Street severed and realigned to connect with the Second/Third one-way couplet that connects with downtown.


The project will also include funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the corridor, as well as "gateway" features at the northern (Willow Street) and southern (Kaliste Saloom Road) interchange termini of the project.


Full details and an update can be found on this video of the latest workshop held last week, from the I-49 Lafayette Connector YouTube page. Also, full info can be found at the Lafayette Connector website (http://www.lafayetteconnector.com)


















« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:01:33 AM by Anthony_JK »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2021, 02:12:37 AM »

Some screenshots I took of the latest tweaks to the proposed Connector alternatives:


1) The "Grand Boulevard" concept for the Evangeline Thruway, with roundabouts with major cross streets:









2) The "Grand Boulevard" concept, but with signalized major cross street intersections:









3) Proposed downtown access ramp to Second St./Simcoe St./Evangeline Thruway, roundabout concept:







4) Same as 3), but with signalized concept:






5) Proposed concept for Pinhook Road interchange (with Displaced Left Turn):





6) Full overview of Central Core view for the proposed Refined End-to-End Alternative (Signalized option shown):









Once I get some time off, I will do a full update in order to refresh my old I-49 Lafayette Connector blog. Linkage when ready.


Notice that this is NOT the finalized version, that will be determined through the SEIS process with a Preferred Alternative, and then approved in the Final SEIS down the road.



« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:20:37 AM by Anthony_JK »
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2021, 08:42:52 AM »

I thought this was supposed to be a freeway?
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2021, 08:54:13 AM »

^ The Connector (orange red) is.  The Thruway (green) is not.
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bassoon1986

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2021, 10:00:45 AM »

On the picture number 3 with the zoomed in exit of Second St/Simcoe, it shows Mudd as US 90 Bus. Is that in part of these plans to change US 90 to a different alignment, or is that just a map mistake?


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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2021, 11:25:31 PM »

Yeah, that's a map error. Mudd Avenue is actually US 90 west of the Evangeline Thruway.

There is a US 90 Business, but it runs along University Avenue from Cameron Street (which transitions into Mudd Ave.) through the UL campus to Pinhook Road, concurrent with LA 182, then turns east on Pinhook to terminate at US 90 at the Evangeline Thruway. I'm seriously surprised, though, they didn't reroute it along the extension of University out to the intersection of University/Surrey/Thruway near the airport, to take advantage of the grade separated underpass of the UP/BNSF rail line.

Which brings us another error: If you look real close, "BNSF" is misspelled "BNFS". Seriously.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2021, 11:29:45 PM »

I thought this was supposed to be a freeway?

It's still planned to be a freeway. This profile simply left out the segment south of Pinhook to Kaliste Saloom Road to focus on the changes in the central core and the tweaks in the northern section from the rail spur crossing to I-10.

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2021, 09:31:54 AM »

Doesn't look like there are any flyover ramps or bridges over the tracks, which is a big disappointment. Especially for Johnston Street. I've been hoping for something that would get rid of or mitigate the awkward connection to Louisiana Ave. and grade-separate its intersection with the tracks. In fact it looks like the new Thruway boulevard is basically the "exit" for Johnston/Louisiana.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2021, 09:58:56 AM »

Doesn't look like there are any flyover ramps or bridges over the tracks, which is a big disappointment. Especially for Johnston Street. I've been hoping for something that would get rid of or mitigate the awkward connection to Louisiana Ave. and grade-separate its intersection with the tracks. In fact it looks like the new Thruway boulevard is basically the "exit" for Johnston/Louisiana.

No way they can do an underpass or overpass due to the curve of Johnston Street and the fact of the area west of the railroad now being declared a Historical District.

Although, I have thought about writing to Stantec and the I-49 team about an idea of splitting the Johnston/Louisiana connection, realigning Johnston Street straighter to allow for an underpass of the railroad that would connect to the new Evangeline Thruway boulevard at approximately Seventh Street, and extending a local street at the ex-Johnston/Louisiana intersection with the Thruway so that it would cross the railroad at grade and terminate at Garfield Street just west of the existing Johnston-Garfield intersection.  It wouldn't be the most advantageous as far as traffic flow between Johnston and Louisiana Avenue, especially if the roundabout option was chosen; but it would provide for another grade separation for both vehicles and pedestrians/bicyclists.

Of course, the originally approved alignment for the Connector included direct interchanges with grade separations at Johnston and the Second/Third couplet, with a braided ramp segment between the two interchanges. That was rejected due to strong community opposition to the required fill section which would sever Sixth Street, and the strong desire to beautify and improve the Evangeline Thruway corridor as a "Complete Streets" corridor for peds and bike geeks.  The continuously elevated and "floating" viaduct combined with using the Thruway for accessing downtown and UL was considered more community friendly.

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2021, 04:34:15 PM »

I have thought about writing to Stantec and the I-49 team about an idea of splitting the Johnston/Louisiana connection, realigning Johnston Street straighter to allow for an underpass of the railroad that would connect to the new Evangeline Thruway boulevard at approximately Seventh Street, and extending a local street at the ex-Johnston/Louisiana intersection with the Thruway so that it would cross the railroad at grade and terminate at Garfield Street just west of the existing Johnston-Garfield intersection. 

That's basically what I meant by "get rid of or mitigate the awkward connection to Louisiana Ave." And to be fair, we'd have to see how much traffic relies on that junction to get from/to downtown to/from the Northside. (I-10 has those "to Johnston St." signs and I've used Louisiana Ave. to do just that.)

Of course, the originally approved alignment for the Connector included direct interchanges with grade separations at Johnston and the Second/Third couplet, with a braided ramp segment between the two interchanges. That was rejected due to strong community opposition to the required fill section which would sever Sixth Street, and the strong desire to beautify and improve the Evangeline Thruway corridor as a "Complete Streets" corridor for peds and bike geeks.  The continuously elevated and "floating" viaduct combined with using the Thruway for accessing downtown and UL was considered more community friendly.

Consider this: Break the Johnston/Louisiana connection, connect Louisiana to Garfield St. at Gordon St., terminate Johnston at Garfield, and extend Seventh, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Sts. across the tracks to Garfield. That would throw a very big bone to the residents of neighborhoods on both sides of the tracks, the urbanists, and pests like Harold Schoeffler. Of course, the people who use that junction regularly would object, so it would come down to who is louder. But the long-term changes in traffic patterns might make it worth it. Such an analysis is beyond my skill level.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 04:39:43 PM by jbnv »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2021, 11:03:25 PM »

Seventh Street would be incorporated into my alternative Johnston Street underpass proposal. Extending Eighth Street would be overkill.

A Louisiana Avenue extension (perhaps, as Ninth Street, which is what was originally there before they extended Louisiana Avenue to the Thruway?) connecting across the rail tracks to Garfield Street is very much viable.

Interestingly enough, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, which is mostly New Urbanists wanting to reconnect the neighborhoods and integrate them within the Connector project, actually has proposed having more connections between the two neighborhoods (Freetown-Port Rico and McComb-Veazey) that are currently separated by the Thruway and would be overpassed by the proposed viaduct. They were actually severed for a long while due to the old Southern Pacific rail yard, which is also the source of concern of contamination of the Chicot Aquifer, which provides Lafayette it's water supply. The rail yard was long since abandoned in the 1950's (replaced with the current distribution yard operated by BNSF near the North Ambassador Caffery Parkway overpass), but it still had faced remediation due to the concerns of contamination. The ETRT did suggest that extensions of Eleventh, Twelfth, and possibly Thirteenth Streets from the Thruway east across the BNSF/UP mainline to Garfield Street could be done once the old railyard site was cleaned up to facilitate reconnecting the communities. Such development would be beyond the scope of building the Connector freeway, but it's something LCG and the city of Lafayette really could consider, especially if FHWA/LADOTD gets generous and helps pay for a full cleanup of the railyard site.
 
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2021, 10:44:15 AM »

Interestingly enough, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, which is mostly New Urbanists wanting to reconnect the neighborhoods and integrate them within the Connector project, actually has proposed having more connections between the two neighborhoods (Freetown-Port Rico and McComb-Veazey) that are currently separated by the Thruway and would be overpassed by the proposed viaduct.

So basically I'm proposing what they have already proposed, but taking them a step further by severing the Johnston/Louisiana connection.

Such development would be beyond the scope of building the Connector freeway, but it's something LCG and the city of Lafayette really could consider, especially if FHWA/LADOTD gets generous and helps pay for a full cleanup of the railyard site.

If they get the railyard cleaned up they could do this before work on the Connector begins. And doing this would show the residents of the area, not to mention the entire city, that LCG cares about northside and ethnic neighborhoods just as much as they care about the Southside and the "white" parts of the city.
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bwana39

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2021, 11:28:30 AM »

Interestingly enough, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, which is mostly New Urbanists wanting to reconnect the neighborhoods and integrate them within the Connector project, actually has proposed having more connections between the two neighborhoods (Freetown-Port Rico and McComb-Veazey) that are currently separated by the Thruway and would be overpassed by the proposed viaduct.


I think the irony here is REMOVING the elevated freeways is the urbanists goals in both Dallas and Houston.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 10:45:51 PM by bwana39 »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2021, 12:25:18 PM »

Interestingly enough, the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, which is mostly New Urbanists wanting to reconnect the neighborhoods and integrate them within the Connector project, actually has proposed having more connections between the two neighborhoods (Freetown-Port Rico and McComb-Veazey) that are currently separated by the Thruway and would be overpassed by the proposed viaduct.


I think the irony here is REMOVING the elevated freeways is the urbanists goals in both Dallas and Houston.

It should be noted that the ETRT, operating through its Evangeline Corridor Initiative, while being open enough to work with the proposed elevated alternative, did actually originally push for a "partially depressed" alternative that would have buried the Connector freeway 12' below ground level, capped it with an embankment, and allowed main cross streets to pass over the mainline. It was reviewed by the Connector design team (Stantec/FHWA/LaDOTD) and made it as far as Level II analysis, but was ultimately rejected due to prohibitive costs and the steep gradients that would have been required to pull the cross streets back down to ground level for crossing the railroad line. Also, it would have required an extensive overpass of Johnston Street over the railroad, penetrating deep into the Freetown-Port Rico Historical District....which would have rendered it DOA.

I'm sure there is some resentment and opposition to the freeway from some of the New Urbanists involved with the ETRT, but thus far they have been silent.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 12:42:37 PM by Anthony_JK »
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2021, 01:13:44 PM »

I'm sure there is some resentment and opposition to the freeway from some of the New Urbanists involved with the ETRT, but thus far they have been silent.

The smart ones know that they have no chance of getting the freeway cancelled outright. Not with major hurricanes passing on both sides of Lafayette in the span of about a year. Not without a large number of Lafayette residents having grown up with this thing being talked about but never done. Not when they can focus on working around the freeway on solutions that benefit everyone but especially downtown and the nearby neighborhoods.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #40 on: November 07, 2021, 04:34:18 AM »

New update on the progress of the Connector:

A new series of neighborhood meetings and an Open House Meeting was held last week in which viewers were officially introduced to the two finalist End-to-End alternatives that will be analyzed in detail for the upcoming Supplemental EIS.

The 2 alternatives are basically variants of the concept I posted earlier: a fully elevated mainline freeway generally using the Evangeline Thruway corridor save for a section from Simcoe Street to Fourteenth/Taft Streets where the Thruway is converted into an "urban boulevard" using the existing southbound ROW (the northbound Thruway roadway will be transferred to the City of Lafayette and converted to a two-way discontinuous local street).

The difference between the two is that one would use signalized intersections for the grand boulevard with major cross streets; while the other would use roundabouts, including a "superroundabout" at the intersection of the Thruway boulevard with Johnston Street/Louisiana Avenue.

The workshops also presented an updated timeline for completion of all the studies and analyses of the proposed Connector freeway; a Draft SEIS is now scheduled to be completed and sent to the public by March of next year; with a Public Hearing in July 2022, and a Final SEIS/Supplemental ROD issued by March of 2023. The CSS design portion of the process is now completed; the focus now is on detailed environmental, noise, and ROW impact analysis leading to the selection of a Preferred Alternative that will be even further detailed for the DSEIS.

Also, a Joint Use Development Plan and a Section 106 Mitigation Plan/Memorandum of Agreement will have to be drafted and finalized along with the FSEIS/SROD for all the corridor enhancements and to mitigate any indirect impacts to the Sterling Grove and Freetown-Port Rico historical districts that would be flanked by the corridor.

I got some screenshots of the full E2E alternatives; I will post them here soon as I can.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2021, 09:11:52 AM »

So then the I-49 connector is dead?
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2021, 08:28:06 PM »

So then the I-49 connector is dead?

No,

They are running part of the freeway on a slightly different routing and making the bypassed portion of the Thruway into a boulevard.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #43 on: November 07, 2021, 08:51:58 PM »

So then the I-49 connector is dead?

Not even close.

In fact, the routing is the same that I pictured earlier up the thread.

The only remaining decision is whether to implement roundabouts or signalized intersections on the boulevard segment of the Thruway. The freeway section simply deviates to the west of the Thruway at that point, using the Thruway ROW for the remainder of the project.
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #44 on: November 07, 2021, 09:54:05 PM »

I just realized this is the second time I’ve asked this here and I’ve been confused both times looking at the plans. Sorry about that.
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2021, 09:58:31 AM »

Now that Congress has passed the infrastructure bill, this would be a good time for the Legislature to earmark $1 billion or so of that for completing I-49. Let's see who steps up.
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2021, 10:05:19 AM »

If the Lafayette Connector and Shreveport ICC can be done within the same timeframe, good for them.
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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2021, 01:23:02 PM »

If the Lafayette Connector and Shreveport ICC can be done within the same timeframe, good for them.

$6 billion should be enough to finish I-49 South, Shreveport ICC, a new bridge at Calcasieu River and fixing the I-10 bottleneck in Baton Rouge. If the Legislature gets its act together, dedicates the funds and declares that These Things Will Get Done, then it can get leverage to persuade voters for additional taxes to fix other infrastructure issues. They should be able to get Edwards's signature on a package so that Edwards can retire from public service with his legacy in tact.

My fear is that they won't get together and these projects will drag out and cost more than we're getting. Too bad we aren't electing a governor until 2023, because this would be a *great* thing to have on the table in an election year. At best it's an opportunity for an ambitious legislator to get his name in the public eye so he can be the viable candidate not named Jeff Landry in 2023. If I were a state Senator or Representative from north/central Louisiana I'd get things in writing before south Louisiana locks up all of the funds.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2021, 04:47:07 AM »

Here's how I would place the priorities for LA "megaprojects" in the wake of the infrastructure bill passing:

1) I-49 South

     1a) Lafayette Connector + US 90 upgrade south to LA 88
     1b) Complete elevated Westbank Expressway to US 90 (temporary I-910 placeholder until rest of I-49 South is complete)
     1c) Complete Ricohoc/Wax Lake Outlet to Berwick/Morgan City segment through Patterson/Bayou Vista/Berwick
     Complete environmental review/design for remaining Raceland-WBExpy segment


2) I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge/Widen I-10 through Lake Charles

3) I-10 widening through Baton Rouge

4) I-49 Shreveport ICC

5) LA 1 "Gateway to the Gulf" tollway from US 90/Future I-49 South to Port Fourchon/Grand Isle 

6) South Mississippi River bridge for potential Baton Rouge south "bypass"

7) Shreveport "Port to I-49 connector"/future I-69 segment


The first priority gets you a completed I-49 South all the way from Raceland to Lafayette and fully completes the Westbank Expressway.

Second gets you a completed and widened I-10 from the Texas state line to US 165.

Third resolves as much as possible the I-10 bottleneck, though I still think other measures, like the toll loop and a freeway bypass to the south, will still be needed.

Fourth completes I-49 through Shreveport.

Fifth adds a real hurricane evacuation route (remember Hurricane Ida devastated that area).

Sixth...see point to Second. (Though, I want a full freeway, not the arterial presently proposed.)






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Re: I-49 Lafayette Connector/I-49 South Update (The Sequel)
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2021, 08:12:40 AM »

Here's how I would place the priorities for LA "megaprojects" in the wake of the infrastructure bill passing:

1) I-49 South

     1a) Lafayette Connector + US 90 upgrade south to LA 88
     1b) Complete elevated Westbank Expressway to US 90 (temporary I-910 placeholder until rest of I-49 South is complete)
     1c) Complete Ricohoc/Wax Lake Outlet to Berwick/Morgan City segment through Patterson/Bayou Vista/Berwick
     Complete environmental review/design for remaining Raceland-WBExpy segment


2) I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge/Widen I-10 through Lake Charles

3) I-10 widening through Baton Rouge

4) I-49 Shreveport ICC

5) LA 1 "Gateway to the Gulf" tollway from US 90/Future I-49 South to Port Fourchon/Grand Isle 

6) South Mississippi River bridge for potential Baton Rouge south "bypass"

7) Shreveport "Port to I-49 connector"/future I-69 segment


The first priority gets you a completed I-49 South all the way from Raceland to Lafayette and fully completes the Westbank Expressway.

Second gets you a completed and widened I-10 from the Texas state line to US 165.

Third resolves as much as possible the I-10 bottleneck, though I still think other measures, like the toll loop and a freeway bypass to the south, will still be needed.

Fourth completes I-49 through Shreveport.

Fifth adds a real hurricane evacuation route (remember Hurricane Ida devastated that area).

Sixth...see point to Second. (Though, I want a full freeway, not the arterial presently proposed.)

I don't really disagree with you . It is the classic north LA is a part of Texas mentality, but it is still not that far off.

In a nutshell, there is not enough money for the needs. Little to none of this is wants.  The Baton Rouge south loop needs to at least buy ROW for an eventual freeway. What people outside of Louisiana need to see is that Baton Rouge through the past couple of decades has gone from about third in population to solidly the largest city in Louisiana.
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