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Regional Boards => Mid-South => Topic started by: Anthony_JK on November 27, 2015, 11:38:45 PM

Title: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on November 27, 2015, 11:38:45 PM
Considering that the proposed I-49 Lafayette Connector Freeway project is the last remaining vital segment of the I-49 South extension to New Orleans, and that its continuing development will be the overwhelming and definitive focus for discussion for the next 5 years, I thought that it would be a decent idea to spin off development of this project and those affecting I-49 South into this thread. This will allow for more detailed discussion of the continuing design and environmental reevaluation process without gumming up the original "I-49 in LA" thread. Of course, the original posts in that thread concerning the Connector freeway should remain for both background and posterity.


Anyways, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser just ran an article today by Claire Taylor that pretty much encapsulated the entire history and controversy over the Connector freeway, and does a pretty good job of detailing all of the issues and arguments, pro and con. Because the article is so detailed, it wouldn't give it justice to merely snip portions from it; so I'll just offer you the link:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/11/27/interstate-49-lafayette-connector-how-we-got-here/76261204/


The article also includes a series of layouts of the entire length of the Connector freeway, from the Kaliste Saloom Road interchange all the way to the I-10/I-49 interchange, including the area near downtown that has drawn the most controversy.


Some pics of the layouts can follow, if the mods here don't object.




Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 04, 2015, 10:09:01 AM
Welp...it looks like we are about to get Round 2 of the I-49 Connector Freeway War.


The Lafayette Daily Advertiser just posted an article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/12/03/grassroots-effort-questions--49-and-its-impact/76693402/) about a meeting that was held by historic opponents of the Lafayette Connector freeway, hosted by the Lafayette Chapter of the Sierra Club. It attracted such a huge crowd that it had to be moved to the library gym.


It remains apparent that there is still some deep and strong resentment and opposition to not only the elevated freeway concept, but to the very idea of I-49 being routed through Lafayette to begin with....and while the Teche Ridge alternative bypass wasn't mentioned, there was a strong hint that opponents would probably attempt to force a reconsideration of that alternative, even via new legal action.


Nearly all of the presenters were those who opposed the original concept of the I-49 Connector during the 2000's, and who were active in the unsuccessful lawsuit attempting to block consideration in 2004.


For the record, here's a link to that article:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/12/03/grassroots-effort-questions--49-and-its-impact/76693402/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/12/03/grassroots-effort-questions--49-and-its-impact/76693402/)


Buckle up, folks...the ride just got a bit more bumpy.

ADDENDUM: A similar article from the Acadiana Advocate of the Y-49/Sierra Club meeting:


http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/14182027-123/lafayette-resident-lob-harsh-criticism




Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 04, 2015, 05:16:30 PM
Does anyone think this Connector will be constructed? Or will they have to consider an alternative alignment, like say, an eastern bypass to Interstate 10? Or maybe not construct it at all?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 04, 2015, 06:57:49 PM
My position is that the Connector is still the best way to complete I-49 South, and ultimately will be constructed whenever the funding is secured. They are too far in upgrading the rest of US 90 south of Lafayette to simply halt consideration of this project, and any further delays and obstructions by the Connector opponents would set back the development of I-49 for another 20 years, at least.


I really don't see any issues that have not been addressed and mitigated by the current process; all of the opposition I'm seeing is from the usual NIMBYs and the same folk who opposed the Connector project from the very beginning..with the new addition of the "new urbanist" faction who always says that elevated freeways suck and mixed use boulevards are the solution to all urban issues.


Unless they discover any new killer constraints, I don't think that they will be successful; and ultimately I-49 gets built along the Connector alignment as it should be. But, you never know about these things, so we'll see.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 06, 2015, 05:30:41 PM
It's Lafayette politics at work. How dare they lay new concrete through the city. We'll whine, complain, sue, whatever it takes to keep it from happening. Maybe have a major land developer build a big thing right in its way so that only a 35-mph boulevard gets built instead of a freeway. Of course, the people who are complaining have no viable solution, but seem to enjoy watching as Lafayette's traffic problems get worse.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 06, 2015, 08:48:01 PM
It's Lafayette politics at work. How dare they lay new concrete through the city. We'll whine, complain, sue, whatever it takes to keep it from happening. Maybe have a major land developer build a big thing right in its way so that only a 35-mph boulevard gets built instead of a freeway. Of course, the people who are complaining have no viable solution, but seem to enjoy watching as Lafayette's traffic problems get worse.

The most ironic thing about it is that the segment of the Evangeline Thruway between Simcoe Street and Taft Street that's not covered by the proposed Connector freeway could be a perfect site for the very "urban boulevard" theme that "New Urbanists" would covet.  Witness this pic of that segment:

(http://i66.tinypic.com/303l2tu.jpg)

That section could easily be converted into a "boulevard" by shifting the southbound roadway east and narrowing the one block seperation into a median. That would even create a better buffer zone protecting the McCovey-Veazey neighborhood from the freeway, and allow for some creative joint use development.

In fact, the only segment of the proposed Connector freeway that would create the most displacements would be the area within the Evangeline Thruway median between the L&DRR railroad spur and Simcoe Street, and the area from there to Jefferson Street. An elevated highway is the only option in order to cross the railroad and keep Mudd Ave and Simcoe Street open as cross connections. Yet, they say this is "divisive"??? Like, the heavy traffic using the Thruway isn't divisive enough? Or, the at-grade crossings of the BNSF/UP railroad that would be replaced with grade separations at Second/Third Sts. and Johnston Street aren't divisive in their own right??

Also...the old SP railyard has been noted as a hazardous waste site for years long before the Connector freeway was even born as an idea. It will be cleaned up as part of the construction of the freeway. It will NOT be cleaned up, however, under any other alternative. So, what's the real problem with using construction of the Connector to finally clean up that site? Or, is it simply another NIMBY excuse being thrown out by opponents who simply want to obstruct and delay even more to stop I-49 South or divert it to St. Martin Parish via Teche Ridge??



Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 06, 2015, 09:55:30 PM
As I've noted elsewhere, Lafayette is ALREADY a "divided" city, with that division occuring largely among University Ave. I don't see anything in that design that creates division that isn't already there. And this area would benefit from bulldozing what is there and putting in the connector and new development. Even a linear park among Evangeline Thruway would be better than what is there now.

These "environmentalists" like throwing their weight around more than anything else. Make a fuss, get some press, go to court, and make the entire state conform to their whims.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on December 11, 2015, 02:08:13 PM
This article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/12/10/under-interstate-who-got-right/77115314/) explores the interesting question of what are good examples of communities getting it "right" with elevated freeways going through their respective communities; two initial suggested examples are the Westbank Expressway near New Orleans and the U.S. 90 bridge in Berwick, LA:

Quote
At a meeting Dec. 3 about the Interstate 49 Connector project, resident Greg Davis asked a question on a lot of minds: Who got it right?
Davis was asking for examples of where highway officials built an elevated freeway through a city that didn't divide the community and create an eyesore underneath.
In response, Shawn Wilson, chief of staff for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, cited work done under and around the Westbank Expressway near New Orleans. A transit hub was created there, he said, along with a pedestrian and bike path and gardens.

I haven't had time to drive there and see the example for myself yet. But if I do,I'll take photos to share with you.
Rusty Cloutier of Mid-South Bank, a long-time proponent of finishing I-49 from Lafayette to New Orleans, suggested I visit the St. Mary Parish community of Berwick to see what they did under the four-lane U.S. 90 bridge.
Since my mother lives across the river in Morgan City, I stopped in Berwick last weekend. They created a nice little park with playground equipment and benches and greenery. It's a very small area that sits next to the Berwick city hall with homes on the other side. The th-thump, th-thump, th-thump of vehicles traveling overhead was loud and I was the only one there Sunday afternoon, despite the good weather.
I don't know how high the overpass is in Berwick, but the I-49 Connector is supposed to be no more than 22 feet high, dipping to ground level in several places, and it will be six lanes wide, not four like in Berwick.
Residents in Lafayette are concerned that the Connector will further divide the neighborhoods around the Evangeline Thruway and create a blighted, dead area for drug dealers and the homeless. Local, state and federal officials say that with proper planning and community input, it doesn't have to be that way.
Berwick is a lot smaller community than Lafayette and the bridge is smaller and shorter than the 5.5-mile I-49 Connector will be in Lafayette.

Several photos of the area under the Berwick bridge accompany the article and here is a snip of one of them:

(http://i.imgur.com/P6bxzmT.jpg)
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: longhorn on December 11, 2015, 03:12:32 PM
This article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/12/10/under-interstate-who-got-right/77115314/) explores the interesting question of what are good examples of communities getting it "right" with elevated freeways going through their respective communities; two initial suggested examples are the Westbank Expressway near New Orleans and the U.S. 90 bridge in Berwick, LA:

Quote
At a meeting Dec. 3 about the Interstate 49 Connector project, resident Greg Davis asked a question on a lot of minds: Who got it right?
Davis was asking for examples of where highway officials built an elevated freeway through a city that didn't divide the community and create an eyesore underneath.
In response, Shawn Wilson, chief of staff for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, cited work done under and around the Westbank Expressway near New Orleans. A transit hub was created there, he said, along with a pedestrian and bike path and gardens.

I haven't had time to drive there and see the example for myself yet. But if I do,I'll take photos to share with you.
Rusty Cloutier of Mid-South Bank, a long-time proponent of finishing I-49 from Lafayette to New Orleans, suggested I visit the St. Mary Parish community of Berwick to see what they did under the four-lane U.S. 90 bridge.
Since my mother lives across the river in Morgan City, I stopped in Berwick last weekend. They created a nice little park with playground equipment and benches and greenery. It's a very small area that sits next to the Berwick city hall with homes on the other side. The th-thump, th-thump, th-thump of vehicles traveling overhead was loud and I was the only one there Sunday afternoon, despite the good weather.
I don't know how high the overpass is in Berwick, but the I-49 Connector is supposed to be no more than 22 feet high, dipping to ground level in several places, and it will be six lanes wide, not four like in Berwick.
Residents in Lafayette are concerned that the Connector will further divide the neighborhoods around the Evangeline Thruway and create a blighted, dead area for drug dealers and the homeless. Local, state and federal officials say that with proper planning and community input, it doesn't have to be that way.
Berwick is a lot smaller community than Lafayette and the bridge is smaller and shorter than the 5.5-mile I-49 Connector will be in Lafayette.

Several photos of the area under the Berwick bridge accompany the article and here is a snip of one of them:

(http://i.imgur.com/P6bxzmT.jpg)

Why does it matter? Is 49 going to be elevated through the city? I thought it was supposed to be trenched.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 11, 2015, 03:14:41 PM
Why does it matter? Is 49 going to be elevated through the city? I thought it was supposed to be trenched.

Where did you get the idea that it would be trenched? Some have floated the idea of trenching it, but for the most part it's impractical.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 11, 2015, 06:11:18 PM
From what I see of the Berwick treatment under the bridge, this looks like a typical section of elevated highway that has been developed for the approach to the Atchafalaya River Bridge.

Probably a more appropriate comparison would be the area around the Claiborne Elevated in New Orleans, which is more continuous and mostly elevated to the height of where the Connector would be (though the Connector would be a bit higher, since the commitments to mitigating Sterling Grove District call for a 25-foot elevation from the LDRR spur at least to the Second/Third interchange, where the design would then drop to near grade level at Johnston Street. (The latter would be depressed to pass underneath the Connector and the BNSF railroad at that interchange.)

I would think that the current study would definitely look at ways to effectively reduce the noise level underneath the elevated structure, as well as adding significant joint use/greenscape/mixed use opportunities within and underneath the ROW. There is also a plan to widen the existing median space between the elevated mainline structures in the core downtown area to 30 feet, to allow for even more light and air spacing for mixed use....although that would require a little more ROW to acquire.

Either way, the fact that the LADOTD brass responded such to Mr. Davis' question shows that they are aware of the criticism of not treating elevated highways, and are not going to let the opportunities pass for major improvements.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 11, 2015, 06:27:38 PM
Why does it matter? Is 49 going to be elevated through the city? I thought it was supposed to be trenched.

Where did you get the idea that it would be trenched? Some have floated the idea of trenching it, but for the most part it's impractical.

After the initial EIS was trashed in 1992, the earlier Lafayette MPO had issued a report called "North-South Corridor Study: Path to Progress" that analyzed both the Evangeline Thruway and three outer bypass corridors (one to the west and two to the east). As part of their findings, they also proposed a "cut and cover" design for the Evangeline Thruway corridor where the highway would be depressed from approximately the LDRR spur to Johnston Street, and fully capped from Mudd Avenue to Jefferson Street. Here is a layout of that proposed design, from the N/S Corridor Study final report:

(http://i65.tinypic.com/1199g0j.jpg)

Ultimately, FHWA and DOTD looked at it and rejected it due to very questionable feasibility, excessive vertical gradients, and extreme impacts during construction. Keeping the Evangeline Thruway open as a hurricane evacuation route during constructing the trench, and the direct impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods, essentially killed any though of depressing the Connector.

Also...that proposal used the "EA-1" alignment, which followed the Thruway for its entirity. The ultimate proposed alignment approved in the 2013 ROD and now featured in this current design study broke from the Thruway around Mudd Ave to approach the BNSF/UP railroad, before recurving to rejoin the Thruway alignment around 14th Street. This was done to both shift the alignment away from Sterling Grove District and to remove any impact on the McComb-Veazey neighborhood, which borders the Thruway from Simcoe Street to Pinhook Road.


A caveat: "2012 Plan" refers to the scenario of the cut-and-cover segment being completed by 2012. The actual report was issued in 1993.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: froggie on December 11, 2015, 09:36:55 PM
Perhaps they should reevaluate a cut-and-cover tunnel along the proposed Connector alignment as opposed to the Thruway alignment.  A cursory look at imagery and topography suggests that they should be able to build such with minimal impact on the northbound Thruway (most important side for hurricane evacuation).
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 11, 2015, 09:43:37 PM
Call it "The Big Dig of the South."

If they could pull it off and keep it from flooding, it could be a new marvel of engineering. It will be expensive (though necessarily more than the elevated freeway?), and if it fails, it could be a disaster for the city.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 11, 2015, 10:09:05 PM
Perhaps they should reevaluate a cut-and-cover tunnel along the proposed Connector alignment as opposed to the Thruway alignment.  A cursory look at imagery and topography suggests that they should be able to build such with minimal impact on the northbound Thruway (most important side for hurricane evacuation).

Not feasible IMHO, Froggie, for the following reasons:

1) You'd still have to take out the SB Evangeline Thruway roadway, Mudd Avenue, Simcoe Street, and a lot of the Jefferson Boulevard cross section, in order to build both the trench and the cap. Way too destructive during construction, and potentially prohibitory for the neighborhood immediately west of the Thruway.

2) The plans for the existing Evangeline Thruway with the proposed Connector project is to reduce their laneage from 3 lanes to 2 lanes in each direction and incorporate "Complete Streets" design to include pedestrian and possible bicycle access. The direct interchanges with Second/Third and Johnston would support that option, since it would remove the bulk of the heaviest traffic away from the Thruway while providing improved access to these main arterials. (In addition, it is assumed that the Connector freeway would take on the bulk of any hurricane evacuation traffic. Going to a depressed or capped freeway would take away those opportunities, since the Evangeline Thruway would probably still be used for direct access to the main arterials. Also, more traffic would mean more of a noise impact, especially to Sterling Grove District.

3) The current alignment between Jefferson Street and Taft goes through property that once had the old Southern Pacific railroad yard and roundhouse, which has been known as a potential hazardous waste site. One of the main concerns of opponents of the current plan is that the pilings required for construction could penetrate into the clay sands where Lafayette's drinking water are stored (the Chicot Aquifier). It's also the reason why the current alignment between Jefferson and Johnston is now at grade on fill rather than elevated. I'm pretty sure that a depressed or capped alignment would present an even worse threat of a breach unless the site was thoroughly cleaned up.

4) There is a coulee ditch that runs across the Evangeline Thruway just north of and parallel to the L&DRR spur crossing between Willow and Mudd that essentially eliminates a depressed freeway south of Willow. If you retained the elevated highway from Willow to just south of the L&DRR, you would create an excessive gradient between there and Mudd Avenue in order to transition to a depressed or C&C section. (The same would be true as well between Johnston and Fourteenth/Taft Sts. where the freeway alignment rejoins the Thruway ROW, since an elevated freeway is required to allow the SB Thruway roadway to pass underneath, and to overcross Pinhook Road.)

5) A trench/cap would all but wipe out the Jefferson Blvd underpass of the BNSF/UP railroad, and eliminate the possibility of grade separating the Second/Third couplet and Johnston St. rail crossings.

6) If you notice, the original C&C proposal contained a partial interchange with the Thruway accessing Mudd Avenue that was proposed to be the main access from the mainlines to downtown to/from the north. Partial interchanges like that are now not considered kosher by the FHWA, who recently revised their standards for interchanges and access in urban and rural areas. Of course, you could eliminate those ramps and use Willow Street and Johnston Street (or even Willow Street and the Surrey Street/E. University Avenue interchanges) for accessing the core area by using the existing Thruway lanes as virtual C-D roads...but that would still mess with the CSS plans and "Complete Streets" proposals.

tl;dr....much more disruptive and more costly with no real benefits as compared to the current proposal.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 11, 2015, 10:39:32 PM
Call it "The Big Dig of the South."

If they could pull it off and keep it from flooding, it could be a new marvel of engineering. It will be expensive (though necessarily more than the elevated freeway?), and if it fails, it could be a disaster for the city.

See my response to Froggie above...and also, I don't think LADOTD wants the risk of having their main hurricane evac route for South Louisiana become an artificial lake in advance of a Cat 3+ hurricane bearing down on the region. Even Teche Ridge or the LRX would be a better alternative than that.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: noelbotevera on December 11, 2015, 10:45:59 PM
Dig it underground.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 11, 2015, 11:00:05 PM
Dig it underground.

This is South Louisiana, not Boston. Too close to the coast, and too expensive.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 11, 2015, 11:21:37 PM
See my response to Froggie above...

I'm well aware that it's not going to happen.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: cjk374 on December 12, 2015, 10:09:54 AM
Call me crazy...or anything you want, just don't call me late for supper...but why not teach Lafayette an expensive lesson:

Start somewhere just east of Crowley and start building new interstate highway southeastward, completely bypassing Lafayette, to connect with the upgraded US 90. Welcome interstate 6!

Let several years go by with the bypassing of potential business eat into the minds of those who wished the elevated highway not be built. Allow Lafayette to continue to divide itself without the existence of an elevated highway. Let them suffer & "waller in the squaller" of horrible traffic jams created by everyone wanting to go south from the end of I-49 to the new I-6 to go to NOLA. That seems to be what they want...let 'em have it!

Then maybe...after these current NIMBYs have died and younger folks of the future see how the lack of an elevated freeway has hurt Lafayette more than helped it...they will get off their assets and get that highway built.

I don't wanna hear about how it is wrong to have a whole interstate in just 1 state...I-2, -4, & -12 have set the precedents.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: noelbotevera on December 12, 2015, 10:15:12 AM
Seems unlikely to happen unless you nuke Lafayette. From the get go, I would route it and teach Lafayette a lesson by routing it through the side that wants the highway, and the NIMBYs all burn and learn their lesson.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 13, 2015, 05:33:46 PM
You have to understand Lafayette politics. For quite a few decades, Lafayette has beena  big city with a very small-town mentality. Too many movers and shakers in the city want it to be a small town forever. Hence the I-49 connector. Hence the Camellia Blvd. debacle. Hence Lafayette not having an interstate loop or spur while several smaller cities have one. Hence Lafayette having no freeways in the city and only one major thoroughfare with three lanes in one direction.

Don't count on younger residents being more progressive. See the case of one Connor McManus, who is 24 years old, claims that he grew up in Lafayette, and yet barfs out the same nonsense (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205395135617053&set=a.1392414649603.2052845.1209240100&type=3) that the older NIMBYs have given for years. Given how far to the left our education culture has drifted, I think we will see more children of Lafayette come back from college with this attitude.

At best, they'll build the connector over the next decade and then spend another decade or two talking about having a loop around the city. The environmentalists will try to kill the loop, claiming that they don't need it because we have the Connector.

Meanwhile, tiny bedroom communities in Texas will have far better infrastructures, and those of us who choose to live and work in Louisiana will continue to complain about our economoy struggling.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: DNAguy on December 14, 2015, 01:41:14 PM
Dig it underground.

This is South Louisiana, not Boston. Too close to the coast, and too expensive.

So Lafayette is closer to the coast than Boston?

 :confused:
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 14, 2015, 03:14:45 PM
Dig it underground.

This is South Louisiana, not Boston. Too close to the coast, and too expensive.

So Lafayette is closer to the coast than Boston?

 :confused:

Not so much closer. but the coastal basin is deeper than in Boston, which would eliminate the possibility of an underground facility.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 14, 2015, 04:12:34 PM
Forget the tunnel. Build the elevated highway. Just don't make it an eyesore.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 14, 2015, 04:32:44 PM
Forget the tunnel. Build the elevated highway. Just don't make it an eyesore.

My hope is that they will make it the city's biggest work of art. For a city that has much so much emphasis on culture and art in recent decades, it would be a shame and a wasted opportunity to not do so.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: ARMOURERERIC on December 14, 2015, 07:24:47 PM
I sit here thinking of the precast arch structures used on the Wilson Bridge and how attractive that could be.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 14, 2015, 09:09:03 PM
Which, for once, is what the planners in Lafayette are actually doing..if the usual obstructionists would let them.


http://www.lafayetteconnector.com
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 14, 2015, 09:22:57 PM
Call me crazy...or anything you want, just don't call me late for supper...but why not teach Lafayette an expensive lesson:

Start somewhere just east of Crowley and start building new interstate highway southeastward, completely bypassing Lafayette, to connect with the upgraded US 90. Welcome interstate 6!

Let several years go by with the bypassing of potential business eat into the minds of those who wished the elevated highway not be built. Allow Lafayette to continue to divide itself without the existence of an elevated highway. Let them suffer & "waller in the squaller" of horrible traffic jams created by everyone wanting to go south from the end of I-49 to the new I-6 to go to NOLA. That seems to be what they want...let 'em have it!

Then maybe...after these current NIMBYs have died and younger folks of the future see how the lack of an elevated freeway has hurt Lafayette more than helped it...they will get off their assets and get that highway built.

I don't wanna hear about how it is wrong to have a whole interstate in just 1 state...I-2, -4, & -12 have set the precedents.

Why Crowley when the proposed LRX (Lafayette Regional eXpressway) loop just west of Scott does the job much easier for less, and connects to existing I-49 near Carencro?

Actually, you could have the LRX consolidated with the US 90 upgrade just south of Youngsville, and create your I-6 that way. You'd simply extend I-49 just a little bit southward through Broussard.

And, the LRX could even be combined with Teche Ridge for a full loop around Lafayette! How's that?

Let's finish the Connector and I-49 South first, though.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 15, 2015, 09:52:59 AM
My fantasy wish list for Lafayette has these routes:

* I-149 branching from north of or just south of Carencro to the existing Amb. Caffery Parkway, consuming existing LA 3184 to Bertrand Drive.

* I-710 following the Teche Ridge route to Broussard.

The former would do a better job of getting people into the heart of Lafayette than the Connector will, and the latter would provide the bypass for southbound travelers.

But none of these are ever going to happen because Lafayette people don't have vision and can't agree on a plan.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: noelbotevera on December 15, 2015, 06:03:19 PM
Why not troll Lafayette by routing it around the city and making sure it does not go near the development.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 16, 2015, 09:13:39 AM
My fantasy wish list for Lafayette has these routes:

* I-149 branching from north of or just south of Carencro to the existing Amb. Caffery Parkway, consuming existing LA 3184 to Bertrand Drive.

Right. A freeway upgrade of Ambassador Caffery to Bertrand Drive, followed by an interchange right in front of Cajun Field??? Really?? Plus, the plans are to convert Bertrand Drive from Cajun Field to Johnston St. to a Complete Streets corridor, allowing for mixed use/pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Plus, you still want access to downtown and the airport.

Quote
* I-710 following the Teche Ridge route to Broussard.

That won't work too well for the same reason the original Teche Ridge proposal won't: not enough through traffic. Plus, the connection to US 90 south of Broussard is now fully developed with oil-based businesses, increasing the displacements and the costs.

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The former would do a better job of getting people into the heart of Lafayette than the Connector will, and the latter would provide the bypass for southbound travelers.

But none of these are ever going to happen because Lafayette people don't have vision and can't agree on a plan.

To me, downtown, the airport, and ULL are the heart of Lafayette, and the Connector serves both far better than any other alternative. Johnston St. and West Congress Street can be used to provide access to the rest, and Ambassador Caffery Parkway does a decent job for traffic coming from the west.  Other than St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge, what would Teche Ridge provide access to, and how would that divert traffic from the existing I-49/Evangeline Thruway corridor?

There is a genuine plan here. Build the Connector NOW to complete I-49 South, then we get the LRX/Teche Ridge loop later.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 16, 2015, 10:16:40 AM
Plus, you still want access to downtown and the airport.

The Ambassador/Bertrand corridor has nothing to do with downtown or the airport. That's what the Connector is for.

Right. A freeway upgrade of Ambassador Caffery to Bertrand Drive, followed by an interchange right in front of Cajun Field??? Really??

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The former would do a better job of getting people into the heart of Lafayette than the Connector will...

To me, downtown, the airport, and ULL are the heart of Lafayette, and the Connector serves both far better than any other alternative.

We clearly have different experiences of living in Lafayette. I come in via Amb. Caffery quite often. I almost never come in via the Thruway; I did it the other day just for ol' times sake.

Johnston St. and West Congress Street can be used to provide access to the rest, and Ambassador Caffery Parkway does a decent job for traffic coming from the west. 

Your response shows the very lack of vision that I was addressing. Congratulations, you are true Lafayette native. Apparently my spirit comes from Texas.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: longhorn on December 16, 2015, 11:14:49 AM
Why not troll Lafayette by routing it around the city and making sure it does not go near the development.

That's what I am thinking. I have been through Lafayette many times, just build to the east of Lafayette. It "should" pacify the rabid NIMBYs.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on December 16, 2015, 11:38:19 AM
I don't get it, what is wrong with just building it to hug the eastern boarder of the city? wouldn't this have the same economic benefits to the city?  It doesn't seem necessary to build it straight through the city when an eastern bypass doesn't seem to be such a bad idea.  I don't live in the area, but I've read the articles and it doesn't seem like it makes sense to build it through the city.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 16, 2015, 11:47:20 AM
Why not troll Lafayette by routing it around the city and making sure it does not go near the development.

That's what I am thinking. I have been through Lafayette many times, just build to the east of Lafayette. It "should" pacify the rabid NIMBYs.

Either they have a financial stake in the eastern route, or they truly are environmentalists and want to kill the project altogether. Either way, giving up on going through the city is exactly what they want.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 16, 2015, 03:23:52 PM
How should we pacify the NIMBYs? Just run them over with the road. Of course, that won't happen, but it was a fun idea while it lasted.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 17, 2015, 12:23:53 AM
Why not troll Lafayette by routing it around the city and making sure it does not go near the development.

That's what I am thinking. I have been through Lafayette many times, just build to the east of Lafayette. It "should" pacify the rabid NIMBYs.

Either they have a financial stake in the eastern route, or they truly are environmentalists and want to kill the project altogether. Either way, giving up on going through the city is exactly what they want.


Ummm....that's what most of the Connector opponents and NIMBY's actually would prefer. They are the ones who have been pushing Teche Ridge since it was created. Also, some fools in St. Martin Parish who think that they will get casino traffic going to Breaux Bridge or St. Martinville if Teche Ridge is built as the bypass for I-49.

I don't think there's so much financial stake; it's simply they don't want it going through the Evangeline Thruway corridor; and they want to "preserve" their neighborhoods". Or, they are New Urbanists who want to impose their "no freeway, especially not an elevated one" and "boulevards over freeways" myopia.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on December 17, 2015, 07:38:00 AM
Why not troll Lafayette by routing it around the city and making sure it does not go near the development.

That's what I am thinking. I have been through Lafayette many times, just build to the east of Lafayette. It "should" pacify the rabid NIMBYs.

Either they have a financial stake in the eastern route, or they truly are environmentalists and want to kill the project altogether. Either way, giving up on going through the city is exactly what they want.


Ummm....that's what most of the Connector opponents and NIMBY's actually would prefer. They are the ones who have been pushing Teche Ridge since it was created. Also, some fools in St. Martin Parish who think that they will get casino traffic going to Breaux Bridge or St. Martinville if Teche Ridge is built as the bypass for I-49.

I don't think there's so much financial stake; it's simply they don't want it going through the Evangeline Thruway corridor; and they want to "preserve" their neighborhoods". Or, they are New Urbanists who want to impose their "no freeway, especially not an elevated one" and "boulevards over freeways" myopia.

people who prefer boulevards over freeways must love sitting in traffic and stop light filled sprawl.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 17, 2015, 11:00:46 AM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.

If I was going to route I-49 on the East side of Lafayette, I'd have the southern part of the bypass start just north of the Celebrity Theaters Broussard 10-plex. US-90 is running almost due North at that point before taking a big curve off to the West. I'd just have I-49 continue North from there. It would skirt the East side of Lafayette Regional Airport and East side of Larabee and run into I-10 just East of Louisiana Ave. exit on I-10. I would be surprised if a route like this wasn't already considered as an alternative to building the Connector through the middle of Lafayette.

It will be interesting to see how this works out, but I-49 definitely has to go through somehow. It can't be a stupid Breezewood with a lot of traffic lights congesting long distance highway traffic.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 17, 2015, 11:37:35 AM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.

As I said earlier, I think that's why the Sierra Club and their ilk want that route. If we abandon the Connector for Teche Ridge, they'll sue to stop it. They want to kill the project altogether and force Lafayette into a "new urban" plan.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Henry on December 17, 2015, 11:51:32 AM
It will be interesting to see how this works out, but I-49 definitely has to go through somehow. It can't be a stupid Breezewood with a lot of traffic lights congesting long distance highway traffic.
I-78 in Jersey City would like to have a word with you.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: DNAguy on December 17, 2015, 01:21:36 PM
Routing I49 through Lafayette isn't the answer.

We have had close to 70 years of American freeway/highway/expressway history to know that urban elevated freeway contribute to blight, destroy neighborhoods, reduce property values and harm the areas around them.

Routing the interstate around the city is the only real answer as tunneling is too cost prohibitive / doesn't make sense for a city like Lafayette. If the Sierra club has a beef with that, then let them fight it. The environmental protections in this country have been widdled down enough for the project to be approved. Environmental legal opposition is much cheaper to fight IMHO than personal / property opposition. This is Louisiana, not California.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 17, 2015, 01:36:34 PM
Routing I49 through Lafayette isn't the answer.

We have had close to 70 years of American freeway/highway/expressway history to know that urban elevated freeway contribute to blight, destroy neighborhoods, reduce property values and harm the areas around them.

Routing the interstate around the city is the only real answer as tunneling is too cost prohibitive / doesn't make sense for a city like Lafayette. If the Sierra club has a beef with that, then let them fight it. The environmental protections in this country have been widdled down enough for the project to be approved. Environmental legal opposition is much cheaper to fight IMHO than personal / property opposition. This is Louisiana, not California.

What do you know about the Connector route? Unless you are from Lafayette or its surrounding areas, I doubt you know much. Besides what you have read on the Internet from people who oppose it.

The Connector route is already blighted. There's almost nothing along the route to destroy. The route passes between downtown and a residential area, so it's not cutting through an existing neighborhood. The city already has a racial divide that is roughly along the Connector route anyway.

If anything, the Connector project is an opportunity to develop and revitalize the corridor.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: DNAguy on December 17, 2015, 04:14:09 PM
Routing I49 through Lafayette isn't the answer.

We have had close to 70 years of American freeway/highway/expressway history to know that urban elevated freeway contribute to blight, destroy neighborhoods, reduce property values and harm the areas around them.

Routing the interstate around the city is the only real answer as tunneling is too cost prohibitive / doesn't make sense for a city like Lafayette. If the Sierra club has a beef with that, then let them fight it. The environmental protections in this country have been widdled down enough for the project to be approved. Environmental legal opposition is much cheaper to fight IMHO than personal / property opposition. This is Louisiana, not California.

What do you know about the Connector route? Unless you are from Lafayette or its surrounding areas, I doubt you know much. Besides what you have read on the Internet from people who oppose it.

The Connector route is already blighted. There's almost nothing along the route to destroy. The route passes between downtown and a residential area, so it's not cutting through an existing neighborhood. The city already has a racial divide that is roughly along the Connector route anyway.

If anything, the Connector project is an opportunity to develop and revitalize the corridor.

A simple google map look shows homes and businesses in the path of this interstate. It'll divide the neighborhood to the east of it from downtown. If a racial divide already exists, it'll most likely be exacerbated by a large elevated freeway / physical barrier. Blighted or not, the people wanting the convenience of this road are not the ones most likely going to be effected by its drawbacks.

So how exactly is building a grade separated and limited access freeway through an area going to reduce blight?

Yes, you'll bulldoze the "crappy" houses in the path but that's just addressing a symptom and not the root cause of the blight. Those factors will remain with brand new road or not.

I will consider your POV if you can show me examples of how building a freeway through a residential / urban or semi-urban area has helped the neighborhood reduce blight.

A simple answer to this problem might be building a bypass while maintaining or upgrading the existing facilities as spurs to the interstate. You have the benefit of an additional north-south interstate in Lafayette, you maintain the access to it through two spurs and you didn't destroy have to destroy existing homes and businesses in the process.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 17, 2015, 04:25:40 PM
Do you know what blight looks like from the ground? It looks like houses and businesses.

It helps to ask people who have actually lived there. Like I did, for most of my childhood and a good part of my adulthood.

I know you are going to find this hard to believe, but there is an Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team working on those matters. They released (http://www.lafayettela.gov/Presidents/Pages/View-NewsRelease.aspx?Id=194) their vision statement yesterday.

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Vision Statement:
 
WE ENVISION AN I-49 CORRIDOR THAT:
Repairs the division caused by the Evangeline Thruway.
 
Restores connections between neighborhoods and people throughout the corridor, including Downtown and the surrounding areas.

Reverses the decades of disinvestment in Lafayette’s urban core, stimulates urban revitalization and drives investment along the corridor and in adjoining neighborhoods through smart design, careful planning, and best practices.
 
Establishes a new standard for excellence nationwide for the design and implementation of a context-sensitive urban interstate, and “gets it right the first time.”
 
Improves local and regional traffic safety, increases access to transit, provides meaningful recreational opportunities, and implements crime prevention through environmental design strategies.
 
Encourages civic and commercial activity in people-friendly, desirable spaces below the elevated spans and along the footprint of the Connector.
 
Provides creative, three-dimensional solutions for an alternative Connector design that the entire community can embrace.

Apparently these people didn't get the memo from Google Maps and are imagining that the area already is divided.

It helps to remember that we're not in the 1950s. Nobody is talking about bulldozing the area clean, putting in the structure and leaving it to be. The community is actually working on this issue.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 17, 2015, 11:42:16 PM
Routing I49 through Lafayette isn't the answer.

We have had close to 70 years of American freeway/highway/expressway history to know that urban elevated freeway contribute to blight, destroy neighborhoods, reduce property values and harm the areas around them.

Routing the interstate around the city is the only real answer as tunneling is too cost prohibitive / doesn't make sense for a city like Lafayette. If the Sierra club has a beef with that, then let them fight it. The environmental protections in this country have been widdled down enough for the project to be approved. Environmental legal opposition is much cheaper to fight IMHO than personal / property opposition. This is Louisiana, not California.



Ummm, no. Not really. Actually, not even close.

It's not as simple as merely just drawing lines on a map or on Google Maps and pontificating about all the sins of elevated highways.

The Evangeline Thruway isn't just a local arterial. It is the MAIN north-south corridor through Lafayette that carries traffic to and from significant designations (such as ULL, downtown, and Lafayette Regional Airport). It also is the northern terminus of the only main 4-lane hurricane evacuation route for most of South and Southeast Louisiana. That in and of itself makes it quite divisive on its own, and actual evidence and traffic data back up the fundamental fact that 90% of the traffic on the Thruway is destined within the core of Lafayette, not bypass traffic.

Sure, you could build a bypass to make the hurricane evac traffic miss Lafayette...but what would that do otherwise? You're not going to ban truck or heavy vehicle traffic on the Thruway, since it is on the National Highway System, and it carries both US 167 and US 90. Are you going to move those highways over to the bypass?

The idea of "spur" routes to connect downtown along with bypasses is essentially a non-starter anyway, since the state and the Feds are fully committed to funding I-49 South through Lafayette, and with the interchanges already either under construction or planned to begin along US 90 south of Lafayette, it's a moot point whether a bypass could defer traffic away from the main US 90/Evangeline Thruway corridor.

As for this "elevated highways suck because blight and neighborhoods destroyed" meme? Yeah, there's plenty of examples of freeways (elevated, at grade, and depressed) carelessly rammed through neighborhoods without even the mildest concern for asthetics or for the neighborhoods devastated. But guess what? As bad as those highways are, and as costly they were to those neighborhoods, they still serve their main purpose of getting people where they need to go with the least impact. Sorry, but boulevards just won't cut it for moving 40,000+ vph. Sometimes you go with the best choice of bad choices, not necessarily the most desired choice.

And I can clearly say that none of those highways have the intensive study that the Connector is getting; nor are any getting the kind of treatment with CSS design and corridor development that the Connector is getting. TIGER Grants don't just fall from the nearest tree; they are precious stipends that are only given to proposed projects that have the potential for changing the game regarding elevated highways and development. The city of Lafayette just got a $500K bet handed to them that they can handle the Connector freeway and make it work. I don't think that they will just waste that money.

The Sierra Club and the opponents of the Connector had their day in court to make their challenges, and they lost. If they want to try again this time, I can't stop them; but I can sure as all hell make the facts plain to all that this proposal is the best for Lafayette, for Louisiana, and for the country. St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge does NOT need a N-S freeway. Lafayette DOES.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 17, 2015, 11:57:54 PM
Also...it should be noted that along the Connector ROW, the only areas where there would be major residential/business displacements would be the one-block median of the Evangeline Thruway couplet from the L&DRR to near Mudd Avenue, and the segment from Mudd Avenue to Jefferson Street. The remaining areas are either abandoned, heavy industrial, or within the existing Evangeline Thruway median.

Divisive?? Really?? An elevated highway which will allow all the major cross streets to remain open underneath, and even add grade separations at the main BNSF/UP rail crossings at Second/Third and Johnston Streets? Which will allow the space underneath the structures to be used to its fullest extent by the neighborhoods on both sides? Which would add amenities such as a farmer's market, an continuous greenspace, parks, and other "streetscape" improvements?

No. Divisive would mean continuing with the same problems of traffic choking the existing Thruway and the railroad being the main "divider" of the city.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: froggie on December 18, 2015, 08:55:08 AM
For the studies, did they do an Origin-Destination study for the traffic that's on the Thruway in the vicinity of "downtown"?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on December 18, 2015, 09:47:17 AM
looking at street view, it looks like the thruway was a first attempt at making an interstate go through town to begin with, except everything is at grade.  Doesn't appear to be too hard to convert most of it to an interstate.  Was a depressed freeway ever considered?  those are less dividing to a community. 
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 18, 2015, 09:48:47 AM
Was a depressed freeway ever considered? 

Read the entire thread.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 18, 2015, 10:02:02 AM
For the studies, did they do an Origin-Destination study for the traffic that's on the Thruway in the vicinity of "downtown"?


O/D studies were done with the original EIS process during the 1990's, and the revised EIS resulting in the current ROD, as is standard for these kind of projects.

Also, after the first EIS was killed by opposition in 1992, the Lafayette Consolidated Government MPO did their own independent study "North-South Corridor -- Path to Progress"; it compared the Evangeline Thruway corridor with three bypass corridors (1 to the west and 2 to the east), and it did include an O/D study. It concluded that only 9% of the Evangeline Thruway traffic was bypass traffic not destined from or to within Lafayette. The study has now been added to the document library over at the Connector website.

http://lafayetteconnector.com/project-library/#1442589560353-2c3e272d-2f82

Just click on the "Historical Documents" button and it will show up.

Updated traffic studies will be done as part of the Re-evaluation of the ROD that will be part of the current studies.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 18, 2015, 10:11:59 AM
Plus, you still want access to downtown and the airport.

The Ambassador/Bertrand corridor has nothing to do with downtown or the airport. That's what the Connector is for.

Are you touting these as replacements for the Connector, or to be built along with it? If the latter, then I apologize for the misinterpretation. The same issues with converting Ambassador/Bertrand still apply, though.

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Right. A freeway upgrade of Ambassador Caffery to Bertrand Drive, followed by an interchange right in front of Cajun Field??? Really??

Quote
The former would do a better job of getting people into the heart of Lafayette than the Connector will...

To me, downtown, the airport, and ULL are the heart of Lafayette, and the Connector serves both far better than any other alternative.

We clearly have different experiences of living in Lafayette. I come in via Amb. Caffery quite often. I almost never come in via the Thruway; I did it the other day just for ol' times sake.

For the record, I live in Opelousas, but I do have family in Lafayette, I attended UL (when it was USL) for 3 years, and I go there more than often. I know that most folks use Caffery because it accesses most of the western and southern edge of the population; but the Thruway is still the main N/S thoroughfare through Lafayette.

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Johnston St. and West Congress Street can be used to provide access to the rest, and Ambassador Caffery Parkway does a decent job for traffic coming from the west. 

Your response shows the very lack of vision that I was addressing. Congratulations, you are true Lafayette native. Apparently my spirit comes from Texas.

What lack of vision?? All I said was that Congress Street can be used as access between the Connector and the west (via the Second-Third interchange) and that Johnston Street already serves as the connection between downtown and points to the southwest. No insult to your vision at all, at least I hope.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 18, 2015, 10:24:07 AM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.

If I was going to route I-49 on the East side of Lafayette, I'd have the southern part of the bypass start just north of the Celebrity Theaters Broussard 10-plex. US-90 is running almost due North at that point before taking a big curve off to the West. I'd just have I-49 continue North from there. It would skirt the East side of Lafayette Regional Airport and East side of Larabee and run into I-10 just East of Louisiana Ave. exit on I-10. I would be surprised if a route like this wasn't already considered as an alternative to building the Connector through the middle of Lafayette.

It will be interesting to see how this works out, but I-49 definitely has to go through somehow. It can't be a stupid Breezewood with a lot of traffic lights congesting long distance highway traffic.

Anything that runs through the Vermillion River floodplain is DOA with the Feds. Also, interchange spacing requirements would kill putting an I-10 interchange that close to Louisiana Avenue.

The two eastern bypass corridors proposed in the North-South Corridor Study broke from US 90 generally near Southpark Road (LA 89), then traversed the Cypress Swamp to the northeast up to LA 94 between Lafayette and Breaux Bridge. The two alignments then diverged: Eastern Alignment to the NW to an I-10 interchange where Louisiana Ave. now is, then W to hook up with I-49 just S of Gloria Switch Road; the Eastern Bypass continued N to meet I-10 at the St. Martin Parish line where Sawmill Highway overcrosses I-10, then curves W to meet I-49 between LA 182 N of Carencro and the LA 726 overpass.

Both were rejected mainly for their impacts on Cypress Swamp, and the costs.

It was probably that very reason why the Teche Ridge proposal was pushed further east and south into St. Martin Parish.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 18, 2015, 10:27:39 AM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.


As I said earlier, I think that's why the Sierra Club and their ilk want that route. If we abandon the Connector for Teche Ridge, they'll sue to stop it. They want to kill the project altogether and force Lafayette into a "new urban" plan.

Actually, the Sierra Club was one of the original sellers of the Teche Ridge alignment as an alternative to the Connector, exactly because Teche Ridge avoids the swamplands. They were part of the lawsuit challenging the 2003 ROD for that very purpose. They are also pushing Teche Ridge hard right now as THE alternative for the Connector, too.

The new plan apparently from the Connector opponents is to combine Teche Ridge with an alternative "new urban plan" for the downtown neighborhoods; which would include "streetscaping" and possibly even reverting the Evangeline Thruway back to two-way streets rather than a one-way couplet. That would be disasterous, IMO.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 18, 2015, 10:41:15 AM
Was a depressed freeway ever considered? 

Read the entire thread.

In particular:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=16929.msg2112189#msg2112189
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 18, 2015, 10:43:01 AM
As I said earlier, I think that's why the Sierra Club and their ilk want that route. If we abandon the Connector for Teche Ridge, they'll sue to stop it. They want to kill the project altogether and force Lafayette into a "new urban" plan.
Actually, the Sierra Club was one of the original sellers of the Teche Ridge alignment as an alternative to the Connector, exactly because Teche Ridge avoids the swamplands. They were part of the lawsuit challenging the 2003 ROD for that very purpose. They are also pushing Teche Ridge hard right now as THE alternative for the Connector, too.

It doesn't take a bleeding heart for Mother Nature to see that building it through already-developed area versus undeveloped area is "better for the environment". They want Teche Ridge so they can kill it altogether. Either that or they are getting a kickback from someone (maybe the urbanists and land developers). Either way, their support for Teche Ridge has nothing to do with responsibility to the environment.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: brownpelican on December 18, 2015, 01:02:21 PM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.

As I said earlier, I think that's why the Sierra Club and their ilk want that route. If we abandon the Connector for Teche Ridge, they'll sue to stop it. They want to kill the project altogether and force Lafayette into a "new urban" plan.

That's my thinking also.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 18, 2015, 05:16:08 PM
Earlier I wrote, "It will be interesting to see how this works out, but I-49 definitely has to go through somehow. It can't be a stupid Breezewood with a lot of traffic lights congesting long distance highway traffic."

Quote
I-78 in Jersey City would like to have a word with you.

Having lived in the NYC area 5 years and been through that approach to the Holland Tunnel a bunch of times I would not say that's an example of a traffic light-infected Interstate that works. Lots of people who commute to and from Manhattan prefer taking NJ Transit and/or the Path train as opposed to dealing with that nonsense.

Additionally, I-78 effectively ends at Jersey Ave. There's 3 traffic lights from there to the tunnel. There's quite a bit more distance to travel with the Lafayette Connector. If they can't build an Interstate quality connector through town they're going to have to build one around town.

Breezewood, PA only has a pair of traffic lights at the intersection of I-70 and Lincoln Ave. Still, that junction with I-70 and the Penn Turnpike & I-76 is annoying and even confusing for some drivers for its backward wrap-around effect. Bedford, PA and I-99 is a little similar.

Lafayette is currently looking at a pretty long Breezewood for I-49 between the intersection of LA-88/Goteau Rd and I-10. Even if the connector can be built through parts of the run down area East of Downtown Lafayette, there is a lot of businesses along US-90 on the South side of Lafayette that are in the path of the future super-highway, if it's going to have continuous frontage roads flanking I-49. It's probably going to take a long time to build through that.

Meanwhile I haven't seen anything going on at the far East end of the I-49 corridor in New Orleans. They could complete the rest of the West Bank Expressway to US-90 since the ROW is already there to build it. I don't know what the plans are to get I-49 through or around Avondale, Boutte, Paradis and Des Allemands. Overall, it looks like they could get the rest of I-49 built all the way up to where the current freeway ends South of Lafayette without nearly as much trouble as it will be getting it built all the way through Lafayette itself.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 18, 2015, 05:55:12 PM
... without nearly as much trouble as it will be getting it built all the way through Lafayette itself.

The only reason we're having trouble getting it built is because of, for lack of a better word, tradition. Lafayette has a culture befitting a city 1/3rd or less of its size. It's taken this long to get the city to the point where enough people will let them build it. And despite all of the talk and studies, we still have the small but vocal group that demands that we not build it.

It doesn't help that Louisiana has an atrocious record of preparing for transportation needs. If Lafayette were in Texas, both I-49 and the loop would have been built decades ago and the hypothetical I-149 I mentioned earlier would exist in some form, if only a ROW footprint.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: aboges26 on December 18, 2015, 10:39:40 PM
Routing I49 through Lafayette isn't the answer.

We have had close to 70 years of American freeway/highway/expressway history to know that urban elevated freeway contribute to blight, destroy neighborhoods, reduce property values and harm the areas around them.

Routing the interstate around the city is the only real answer as tunneling is too cost prohibitive / doesn't make sense for a city like Lafayette. If the Sierra club has a beef with that, then let them fight it. The environmental protections in this country have been widdled down enough for the project to be approved. Environmental legal opposition is much cheaper to fight IMHO than personal / property opposition. This is Louisiana, not California.

What do you know about the Connector route? Unless you are from Lafayette or its surrounding areas, I doubt you know much. Besides what you have read on the Internet from people who oppose it.

The Connector route is already blighted. There's almost nothing along the route to destroy. The route passes between downtown and a residential area, so it's not cutting through an existing neighborhood. The city already has a racial divide that is roughly along the Connector route anyway.

If anything, the Connector project is an opportunity to develop and revitalize the corridor.

A simple google map look shows homes and businesses in the path of this interstate. It'll divide the neighborhood to the east of it from downtown. If a racial divide already exists, it'll most likely be exacerbated by a large elevated freeway / physical barrier. Blighted or not, the people wanting the convenience of this road are not the ones most likely going to be effected by its drawbacks.

So how exactly is building a grade separated and limited access freeway through an area going to reduce blight?

Yes, you'll bulldoze the "crappy" houses in the path but that's just addressing a symptom and not the root cause of the blight. Those factors will remain with brand new road or not.

I will consider your POV if you can show me examples of how building a freeway through a residential / urban or semi-urban area has helped the neighborhood reduce blight.

A simple answer to this problem might be building a bypass while maintaining or upgrading the existing facilities as spurs to the interstate. You have the benefit of an additional north-south interstate in Lafayette, you maintain the access to it through two spurs and you didn't destroy have to destroy existing homes and businesses in the process.

Have you heard of the Marsha Sharp Freeway in Lubbock?  It has revitalized the whole area along its corridor because it was done right.  As long as you keep the access where it needs to be and it is done in an aestetically pleasing way, it will be a benefit to the community.  "Dividing" a neighborhood from downtown is not necessarily a bad thing as well if the connectivity is still there.  It all comes down to whether proper urban design is planned for.


looking at street view, it looks like the thruway was a first attempt at making an interstate go through town to begin with, except everything is at grade.  Doesn't appear to be too hard to convert most of it to an interstate.  Was a depressed freeway ever considered?  those are less dividing to a community.

It's in Louisiana near the coast so their water table is probably high.  A depressed freeway was most likely never an option here.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 19, 2015, 09:52:04 AM
Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 19, 2015, 02:59:40 PM
looking at street view, it looks like the thruway was a first attempt at making an interstate go through town to begin with, except everything is at grade.  Doesn't appear to be too hard to convert most of it to an interstate.  Was a depressed freeway ever considered?  those are less dividing to a community.

Yes, the Evangeline Thruway was originally built to ultimately support a freeway facility. The wide median at the Willow Street intersection, the one-block separation, and the ROW of both US 167 to the north and US 90 to the south were all created to support an ultimate elevated freeway within the median or be upgradable to freeway. The only constraint was the sharp turn of the north-bound roadway at Simcoe Street to avoid impacting St. Genevive Catholic Church, which did constrain the median at that point. The proposed Connector avoids that constraint by shifting westward and realigning the ground level Thruway to a brief "boulevard" effect at Simcoe Street, and by depressing Simcoe a bit to allow for clearance under the Second/Third Sts. interchange ramps.

Weren't it not for the coulee ditch that traverses the Thruway just near the L&DRR spur crossing, an depressed freeway would have been more feasible. As it is, though, it's a moot point.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 19, 2015, 08:01:46 PM
The Connector has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LafayetteConnector/?fref=nf). If you feel strongly about the project, participate in the discussion. Don't just through out the same old trite oppositions and arguments.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 19, 2015, 08:20:07 PM
Maybe the "same old trite oppositions and arguments" is all the ammunition project opponents have.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 20, 2015, 10:59:05 AM
The Connector has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LafayetteConnector/?fref=nf). If you feel strongly about the project, participate in the discussion. Don't just through out the same old trite oppositions and arguments.

Broken link....here's the fixed one:  https://www.facebook.com/LafayetteConnector

There's also a Twitter timeline (https://twitter.com/LafConnector ).
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 21, 2015, 12:50:55 PM
To add some context to the discussion here, this is a rough outline of what the Teche Ridge alternative would look like (courtesy of the Acadiana Advocate):

(http://i63.tinypic.com/wl453.jpg)

From reading the map, it appears that the Teche Ridge southern connection with US 90 would be at the intersection of Young Street (LA 92/LA 92-1) and US 90. That segment is filled with development, plus, how would you place direct flyover ramps without affecting US 90 or the connection to Young Street?


(I had earlier posted that the connection would be at the Ambassador Caffery South extension intersection/future interchange with US 90. Sorry..I misread the map.)

The most logical location for a Teche Ridge connection with US 90/Future I-49 South would be somewhere midway between LA 92/LA 92-1 (Young St./future Youngsville Parkway) and the LA 88 (Coteau Road) interchange. Problem is, the best area for that connection has now been built up as an arterial (Petroleum Parkway), and is loaded up with residential and commercial development, so you will have some displacements....maybe even as much as or more than you would with the Connector/Evangeline Thruway alignment.


I really fail to see how this will attract enough traffic from the Evangeline Thruway corridor to be cost effective.


The other issue is what you would do with the segment of existing I-49 between the northern terminus of Teche Ridge and I-10. Return it to US 167? Make it an I-x49 spur? Create Louisiana's first Interstate business route? Downgrade that portion back to expressway standards?


Bottom line, this turkey bird isn't flying. Not with LCG, not with LADOTD...and most certainly not with FHWA.


Now, after the Connector is completed, we can seriously talk about integrating Teche Ridge into the LRX outer toll loop. THAT would be something real.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: DNAguy on December 21, 2015, 05:50:47 PM
Maybe the "same old trite oppositions and arguments" is all the ammunition project opponents have.

How is building an elevated freeway through an existing neighborhood not "old" or "trite" when it comes to a solution to traffic?

Look, I understand this isn't a new urbanism forum. I'm not some kind of hippy-dippy no-roads person either.

I just know in most cities I've visited or lived in that an elevated interstate / highway does the following:

A) Provides a hang out for the homeless and panderers
B) No one seems to want to live near them and most actively seek to move away from them
C) They allow for motorists to bypass areas and therefore allow $$$ to bypass areas
D) They act as a barrier for development
E) They provide nice shaded parking if built by an existing dense place

The bypass has its environmental drawbacks as well and maybe this coalition of folks can make an elevated freeway work.
Count me as skeptical, though.


Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 21, 2015, 06:07:29 PM
Then what is your solution?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 22, 2015, 02:22:41 AM
Maybe the "same old trite oppositions and arguments" is all the ammunition project opponents have.

How is building an elevated freeway through an existing neighborhood not "old" or "trite" when it comes to a solution to traffic?

Except that the proposed Connector freeway does not "plow through" existing neighborhoods. Other than the segment within the Evangeline Thruway median between the L&DRR spur crossing and Mudd Avenue, and the segment of ROW which diverges from the Thruway to parallel the BNSF railroad line near Jefferson Street, there are very few displacements of neighborhoods or homes. North of the railroad and south of Fourteenth/Taft Streets, the Connector uses the existing Evangeline Thruway ROW, and between the Jefferson Street underpass and Fourteenth St., there are only isolated homes, commercial property, or simply vacant land due to the prior use of the railroad yard.

As for the neighborhoods themselves? Only Ballard Addition on the west side of the Thruway and Sterling Grove on the east side can say that they would be directly affected by residential displacements or noise/visual impacts. Freetown-Port Rico is located on the other side of the BNSF tracks from the Connector ROW, and would be indirectly impacted only through the underpass of the railroad that would be required for the Johnston St. interchange. McComb-Veazey would be somewhat more impacted by the small bit of ROW that would be required along the Evangeline Thruway between Fourteenth Street and Pinhook Road necessitated by the need to fit the freeway structure between the surface one-way local access roadway system...but even that would not necessarily be that great an impact to that neighborhood. The Thruway is only the western boundary of McComb-Veazey, so that would not count as "ramming through the neighborhood" at all.

Quote
Look, I understand this isn't a new urbanism forum. I'm not some kind of hippy-dippy no-roads person either.

I'm no "plow freeways through neighborhoods with no foresight or concern for the people living there" person myself...and there are even some forms of New Urbanism that I can support when the situation supports it. The problem is when some of them get trapped in the mentality of "Cars suck, and freeways suck even more; so lets make it so hard for cars that people will be forced to dump them for our vision of light rail and boulevards!"  Alternatives to automobiles for transport are justified; simply ignoring the issue of people not readily giving up their cars and trucks, though, is ignorant.

Quote
I just know in most cities I've visited or lived in that an elevated interstate / highway does the following:

A) Provides a hang out for the homeless and panderers
B) No one seems to want to live near them and most actively seek to move away from them
C) They allow for motorists to bypass areas and therefore allow $$$ to bypass areas
D) They act as a barrier for development
E) They provide nice shaded parking if built by an existing dense place

That is exactly the kind of non-development that the Corridor Connectivity Study is attempting to prevent through creative concepts of greenspace, mixed use, and connecting all of the surrounding neighborhoods together to better synch with the proposed Connector project.

And as for the arguments about the homeless?? Gee as if the efforts already ongoing to discourage homeless people through spiking benches, harassment, and other means, isn't enough to discourage transients from using the space underneath elevated freeways? Here's a quaint idea: how about we provide real places for the homeless to reside safely so that they don't have to use the freeway to begin with?

Motorists will bypass the Evangeline Thruway area? Really? Only 9% of traffic using the existing Thruway are there to bypass it; the remainder use it to access the main critical destinations nearby (downtown, ULL, Lafayette Regional Airport). Trust me on this, the people using the Thruway are not going to just ignore the businesses that have been there; and the idea behind the Corridor Connectivity Plan is to revitalize the corridor (especially the portion not directly covered under the Connector) to become a hotbed for community-based businesses.


Quote
The bypass has its environmental drawbacks as well and maybe this coalition of folks can make an elevated freeway work.
Count me as skeptical, though.

You are entitled to your skepticism, just as I am entitled to my opinion that the Connector is the best alignment, and the people of Lafayette will do their best to make it work because this is the one chance they have to, as they say, "get it right the first time". Mitigating the impacts of an elevated freeway has never been offered in this way, which is way LCG was able to score that TIGER grant for this study. That's a big investment that can't go to waste, and I'm positive and optimistic that ultimately, they will get it right.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 22, 2015, 08:54:52 AM
Quote from: DNAguy
[snip]

Then what is your solution?

We know what his solutions are. They are the same solutions that have been discussed and rejected for good reason. There's very little to discuss in terms of alternatives to the elevated Connector. People are beating the dead horses in hopes of killing the project.

Now, designing the Connector and putting the corridor back to good use... that is worth discussing.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 22, 2015, 05:12:44 PM
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 22, 2015, 05:17:43 PM
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.

My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on December 23, 2015, 04:44:23 PM
That might work.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: aboges26 on January 01, 2016, 03:17:58 AM
Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.

The Marsha Sharp is not at-grade at all, Milwaukee Ave was an at-grade intersection that served as the ending of the Marsha Sharp and where the Brownfield Highway started, but now that the Milwaukee overpass has opened up the Marsha Sharp designation continues to Upland Ave, where there is currently an overpass and frontage roads being built.  After that overpass is built, then the Marsha Sharp Freeway name will be extended along the current Wolfforth bypass to Loop 193 where another overpass/interchange is about to be built.

As for the depressed portion of the freeway, it is only from just west of Ave Q to just southwest of 19th St.  It is only depressed there because it goes right by Jones Stadium and through the Texas Tech campus, and as far as I know, the University had wanted the Brownfield Highway/Tech "Freeway" to be upgraded to a depressed corridor to not be an eyesore.  By depressing the freeway, they purposely cut Indiana Ave, which is a major north-south street, in order to stop traffic from crossing through the center of campus.  To balance things, they created Tech Parkway to route the traffic west then north to go through the west side of campus and provide better connections to the UMC hospital.  3 pedestrian bridges were built to span the depressed freeway to facilitate movement across the corridor to the off campus student housing, museum, and hospital on the north side of the freeway.

Depressing the Connector in Lafayette would be more aesthetically pleasing option if done like the Marsha Sharp, but as it has been said, that is not an ideal method due to how much it rains in Louisiana.  The depressed portion of the Marsha Sharp has flooded with many feet of water, many times, and this is in semi-arid west Texas where we barely get any rain.  No amount of water pumps can keep up with torrential rains.

Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.

My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.

I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.  There is a viaduct on the Marsha Sharp that goes from just east of Ave Q to just west of I-27 on the north-side of downtown and its burgeoning Arts District that has been painted up and has sculptural art in-between the eastbound frontage road and the embankment for the western start of the viaduct.  I think that the elevated option, if done correctly with some artful design, could be the best option for Lafayette purely because of what I have seen in Lubbock with its consistently expanding economy.

The question is, if the connector was built through the center of Lafayette, would the city be able to design an aesthetically pleasing elevated structure and redevelop the land around it to integrate it into the fabric of the city positively?  I know most of the fears surrounding an elevated freeway are that it will divide and be an eyesore, but that would not be true with the proper planning and development.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 02, 2016, 01:32:29 AM
Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.

The Marsha Sharp is not at-grade at all, Milwaukee Ave was an at-grade intersection that served as the ending of the Marsha Sharp and where the Brownfield Highway started, but now that the Milwaukee overpass has opened up the Marsha Sharp designation continues to Upland Ave, where there is currently an overpass and frontage roads being built.  After that overpass is built, then the Marsha Sharp Freeway name will be extended along the current Wolfforth bypass to Loop 193 where another overpass/interchange is about to be built.

As for the depressed portion of the freeway, it is only from just west of Ave Q to just southwest of 19th St.  It is only depressed there because it goes right by Jones Stadium and through the Texas Tech campus, and as far as I know, the University had wanted the Brownfield Highway/Tech "Freeway" to be upgraded to a depressed corridor to not be an eyesore.  By depressing the freeway, they purposely cut Indiana Ave, which is a major north-south street, in order to stop traffic from crossing through the center of campus.  To balance things, they created Tech Parkway to route the traffic west then north to go through the west side of campus and provide better connections to the UMC hospital.  3 pedestrian bridges were built to span the depressed freeway to facilitate movement across the corridor to the off campus student housing, museum, and hospital on the north side of the freeway.

Depressing the Connector in Lafayette would be more aesthetically pleasing option if done like the Marsha Sharp, but as it has been said, that is not an ideal method due to how much it rains in Louisiana.  The depressed portion of the Marsha Sharp has flooded with many feet of water, many times, and this is in semi-arid west Texas where we barely get any rain.  No amount of water pumps can keep up with torrential rains.

In Lafayette, the current railroad underpasses at Jefferson Blvd. and N. University Avenue have pumps, and they flood frequently during heavy rains. Though, those pumps are over 20 years old.

Newer and more powerful pumps would be built at the points where major streets would be depressed to pass under the Connector freeway and BNSF/UP railline at the Second/Third and Johnston interchanges and the section under Simcoe Street. The Jefferson pumps would be upgraded as well.

The risk of flooding during a hurricane evac was the primary reason the depressed/capped freeway option was rejected for the Connector freeway.

Quote
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.

My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.

I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.  There is a viaduct on the Marsha Sharp that goes from just east of Ave Q to just west of I-27 on the north-side of downtown and its burgeoning Arts District that has been painted up and has sculptural art in-between the eastbound frontage road and the embankment for the western start of the viaduct.  I think that the elevated option, if done correctly with some artful design, could be the best option for Lafayette purely because of what I have seen in Lubbock with its consistently expanding economy.

The question is, if the connector was built through the center of Lafayette, would the city be able to design an aesthetically pleasing elevated structure and redevelop the land around it to integrate it into the fabric of the city positively?  I know most of the fears surrounding an elevated freeway are that it will divide and be an eyesore, but that would not be true with the proper planning and development.

That's the entire reason why the Connector Corridor Study was launched and was awarded the TIGER grant, and why Context Sensitive Solutions design was essentially baked into the design and development process from the very beginning. Even the I-49 Corridor Preservation and Management Plan that was passed as a condition of the approval of the 2003 EIS/ROD specifically dictates that aesthetics and redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhoods within the corridor be directly integrated into the final design and construction.

As for the crawfish supports? Well, when the initial design study begin in 2008, there actually was a rendering of how the supports for the freeway could be designed in the form of "cartydids". Though, it was rejected in favor of simply embedding crawfish design into more traditional support structures. Perhaps they may make a comeback this time around.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: qguy on January 02, 2016, 02:36:19 PM
…"cartydids"…

Are you sure you don't mean caryatid? It's a classical architectural element.

A caryatid (pronounced "CARE-ee-uh-tid" or "care-ee-AT-id"; either is acceptable but the former is usually heard) is a column or support shaped to look like a figure holding up whatever is overhead. It can be load-bearing itself or a decorative element in front of a load-bearing member (a column, say). They are classically shaped like human figures, usually female, but can be anything.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 02, 2016, 02:58:31 PM
Thanks, qguy...that's what I meant to say.  :sombrero: :sombrero: :sombrero:


Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool at the Simcoe Street/Jefferson Blvd. undercrossings of the Connector, I'd think.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on January 03, 2016, 04:41:55 PM
…"cartydids"…

Are you sure you don't mean caryatid? It's a classical architectural element.

A caryatid (pronounced "CARE-ee-uh-tid" or "care-ee-AT-id"; either is acceptable but the former is usually heard) is a column or support shaped to look like a figure holding up whatever is overhead. It can be load-bearing itself or a decorative element in front of a load-bearing member (a column, say). They are classically shaped like human figures, usually female, but can be anything.

When I read that, I thought of the insect katydid.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: qguy on January 04, 2016, 06:16:05 AM
Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool...

Yes they would. :nod:
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on January 09, 2016, 11:21:41 AM
Isn't the Marsha Sharp Freeway mostly at-grade w/ depressed interchanges, though? I will say that TXDOT did a great job there of integrating the freeway with the neighborhoods. That's pretty much what Lafayette is shooting for with the Connector freeway.
Depressing the Connector in Lafayette would be more aesthetically pleasing option if done like the Marsha Sharp, but as it has been said, that is not an ideal method due to how much it rains in Louisiana.
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.
My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.
I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.  There is a viaduct on the Marsha Sharp that goes from just east of Ave Q to just west of I-27 on the north-side of downtown and its burgeoning Arts District that has been painted up and has sculptural art in-between the eastbound frontage road and the embankment for the western start of the viaduct.  I think that the elevated option, if done correctly with some artful design, could be the best option for Lafayette purely because of what I have seen in Lubbock with its consistently expanding economy.

At the risk of going slightly OT, TxDOT has posted a NOTICE AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC HEARING (http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/lbb/notices/021216-notice.pdf) regarding the proposed widening of the Marsha Sharp Freeway in order to cover the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project:

Quote
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen the Marsha Sharp Freeway from 2,400 feet east of W. Loop 289 to Avenue L in Lubbock, Texas. The total distance of the proposed project is approximately 5.5 miles ....
All interested persons may request a public hearing covering the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project. Requests for the public hearing must be submitted in writing on or before February 12, 2016, to the TxDOT District Office, Mr. Doug Eichorst, P.E., District Engineer, 135 Slaton Road, Lubbock, TX 79404.

I'm not sure if the potential impacts of this particular Marsha Sharp Freeway project have much applicability to the Lafayette Connector, but I suppose the possibility exists that the folks in Lafayette could glean some useful information from it.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 09, 2016, 01:13:29 PM

At the risk of going slightly OT, TxDOT has posted a NOTICE AFFORDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC HEARING (http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/lbb/notices/021216-notice.pdf) regarding the proposed widening of the Marsha Sharp Freeway in order to cover the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project:

Quote
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proposing to widen the Marsha Sharp Freeway from 2,400 feet east of W. Loop 289 to Avenue L in Lubbock, Texas. The total distance of the proposed project is approximately 5.5 miles ....
All interested persons may request a public hearing covering the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed location and design for this project. Requests for the public hearing must be submitted in writing on or before February 12, 2016, to the TxDOT District Office, Mr. Doug Eichorst, P.E., District Engineer, 135 Slaton Road, Lubbock, TX 79404.

I'm not sure if the potential impacts of this particular Marsha Sharp Freeway project have much applicability to the Lafayette Connector, but I suppose the possibility exists that the folks in Lafayette could glean some useful information from it.

Since this MSF project only involves adding a lane in each direction within the median of the existing highway, probably not applicable to the Connector project.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on January 25, 2016, 07:51:12 PM
Maybe once the highway is built, they could paint trees on it like they did on Interstate 10 in New Orleans. As an alternative, maybe they could put other things on the roadway that represent Lafayette.
My personal idea: Make the supports look like crawfish. So we would have a row of crawfish holding up the highway.
I really like this option and see the potential for it to be a work of art for the city that means something to it.
Crawfish caryatids would look pretty cool at the Simcoe Street/Jefferson Blvd. undercrossings of the Connector, I'd think.

This article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/24/dotd-needs-answer-questions--49-connector-before-asking-them/79268370/) includes a photo of materials from a recent meeting that includes crawfish-claw themed bridge supports:

(http://i.imgur.com/sanUHXJ.jpg)
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 26, 2016, 04:19:47 AM
The actual text of that article (by Claire Taylor) cited concerns about how the first workshop didn't allow for consistent feedback from the public due to time constraints.


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/24/dotd-needs-answer-questions--49-connector-before-asking-them/79268370/


I fear that this will only fuel the opposition to the project. DOTD and FHWA need to step up and answer the legitimate questions right now so that momentum doesn't swing against them.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 02, 2016, 01:04:40 AM
An interesting turn of events yesterday...


The background of all this is a story done by Claire Taylor in Friday's Lafayette Daily Advertiser where she details the possible impact of the Connector freeway on a former railyard site that has been the subject of possible hazardous waste contamination.

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/29/does--49-connector-pose-environmental-risks/78804634/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin= (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/01/29/does--49-connector-pose-environmental-risks/78804634/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=)


The former rail yard property is located on the east side of what is now the BNSF/UP rail line bordered by Sixth Street, Chestnut Street, and Johnston Street Johnston Street, the southbound Evangeline Thruway, the current railroad ROW, and Taft Street, and is now split between abandoned open space and a group of warehouse facilities.


The main risks are that the pilings that would be drilled for the elevated sections of the Connector between Johnston St. and where the freeway would rejoin the Evangeline Thruway  near Taft Street could penetrate the clay layer protecting the aquifier water table, potentially contaminating the water supply for the city.

The 2003 Record of Decision did take into account that potential, calling for more detailed tests and a possible mitigation plan for cleaning up the site and reducing the risk of contamination. However, that has not abetted the concerns of residents, and it is the prime issue for those who are opposed to the freeway's current alignment and pushing for an alternative bypass like the Teche Ridge alternative through St. Martin Parish.

Indeed, today, some people decided that they didn't wait to wait for LADOTD to take action...they've acted on their own with their own lawsuit to force Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF, along with other owners of the property included, to immediately pay for a full cleanup of the property.

The story -- also in the Advertiser -- can be found here:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/02/01/breaking-lawsuit-filed-over--49-lafayette-connector/79638738/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/02/01/breaking-lawsuit-filed-over--49-lafayette-connector/79638738/)

It should be noted that LADOTD is not a party to or a defendant in this suit, nor are any of the plaintiffs openly challenging the Connector corridor; their focus is rather on getting the accused parties to pay for remediation immediately. The suit does not seek to change the alignment of the corridor (the misleading headline nothwithstanding).

Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with this action...if cleaning up the former rail yard site accelerates the construction of the Connector, than I'm all for it.


BTW....the Advertiser does have a limit on free viewings of their articles before their paywall kicks in, so be forewarned.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 06, 2016, 09:40:28 AM

Welp...it didn't take long, didn't it?


Two opponents of the Connector freeway project just got published an Opinion piece in the Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/01/29/voices-lafayette-deserves-better-than--49-connector/79509968/) where they explicitly state their opposition to the project, and calls for a combination of the Teche Ridge bypass and a redevelopment of the existing Evangeline Thruway as a "complete streets" boulevard.


They repeat all of the memes that Teche Ridge partisans promote: that TR would cost "half as much" as the Connector and be built in "half the time"; that "local taxpayers" would bear the full brunt of mitigating the impacts of the Connector freeway; and that a bypass would redress the "destruction" that urban freeways have wreaked (they quote the "devastation" of Baton Rouge and New Orleans as examples).


Naturally, I posted a comment or three attempting to refute this nonsense this morning (click on the bubble marked "Comment" to view them), and I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) doing the same.


Someone has to speak the truth, right?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on February 06, 2016, 09:17:45 PM

Welp...it didn't take long, didn't it?


Two opponents of the Connector freeway project just got published an Opinion piece in the Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/01/29/voices-lafayette-deserves-better-than--49-connector/79509968/) where they explicitly state their opposition to the project, and calls for a combination of the Teche Ridge bypass and a redevelopment of the existing Evangeline Thruway as a "complete streets" boulevard.


They repeat all of the memes that Teche Ridge partisans promote: that TR would cost "half as much" as the Connector and be built in "half the time"; that "local taxpayers" would bear the full brunt of mitigating the impacts of the Connector freeway; and that a bypass would redress the "destruction" that urban freeways have wreaked (they quote the "devastation" of Baton Rouge and New Orleans as examples).


Naturally, I posted a comment or three attempting to refute this nonsense this morning (click on the bubble marked "Comment" to view them), and I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) doing the same.


Someone has to speak the truth, right?

I facepalm every time i hear the phrase "replace the interstate with a boulevard" same old song and dance from the "new urbanists"
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 06, 2016, 09:44:46 PM

I facepalm every time i hear the phrase "replace the interstate with a boulevard" same old song and dance from the "new urbanists"

To be fair, this isn't replacing an freeway with a boulevard, but moving a proposed freeway elsewhere while building a new bypass to replace it. But, it's pretty much the same mentality.

Strangely enough, the Connector Functional Study now ongoing includes ideas about making the surface segment of the Evangeline Thruway into a "Complete Streets" corridor, reduced from 3 to 2 lanes in each direction, and integrating pedestrian and bicycle access along with greenspace and joint use within the elevated sections.  It's even possible to make the segment of the Thruway not covered under the freeway footprint (between Simcoe Street and Fourteenth/Taft Streets into an actual boulevard (now, it's a one-way couplet) and redevelop it to fit into the neighborhoods.

But, so much easier to play NIMBY, right?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on February 11, 2016, 04:02:07 PM
I've also posted a Letter to the Editor (currently under review) ...
Someone has to speak the truth, right?

And The Advertiser can handle the truth:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/02/11/voices--49-opponents-not-looking-facts/80242042/

Quote
Once again, opponents of the Interstate 49 connector are pitching the same old tired argument that this project would be a major disaster. Just like 15 years ago, when they sued and lost. They claim that a bypass alignment like the Teche Ridge alternative through St. Martin Parish would be more efficient, "costs less" and avoid the displacements and "eyesore" that the connector would apparently impose on Lafayette.

And, just like before, they are simply not looking at the facts.

Teche Ridge is simply not the most cost-effective means of reconnecting I-49 South with existing I-49. It doesn't resolve the basic issue that the primary users of the Evangeline Thruway are not bypassing Lafayette, but serving the major traffic destinations within the city (downtown, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Lafayette Regional Airport, to name just three). Most heavy traffic will continue to use the Thruway even if Teche Ridge is built, which would make it essentially a glorified "road to nowhere". Merely converting it into a "urban boulevard" just for the sake of beauty will not change that fact.

In addition, with the ongoing and scheduled upgrades to US 90 just south of Lafayette (the Albertsons' Parkway interchange now under construction, and the Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Young Street, and Verot School Road interchanges now in the design stage), any diversion of proposed I-49 other than through the Connector freeway/US 90 corridor would be redundant and wasteful.

As for the "elevated freeways are innate eyesores" argument, some may be, due to lack of care in design and integrating the facility with the surrounding neighborhood. But that is exactly what Lafayette is attempting to fight against with their current design/functionality study, and the full commitments to better design are built into the current design process. It would be much better if these efforts were supported rather than opposed on "NIMBY" or anti-freeway bias.

Finally, on the issue of the Chicot Aquifer. It is not an issue of if the rail yard property will be cleaned up, since that will be required as part of construction of the Connector in any case. There are provisions in place to protect the aquifer from contamination, and I'm sure that LADOTD will do everything possible to protect the drinking water supply.

The connector project is still the best means of finishing I-49 South through Lafayette, and it should be supported, while the legitimate concerns of residents and neighborhoods should be resolved through the current process. Don't let the naysayers and NIMBYs destroy years of progress. The best route between Carencro and the airport does not go through Breaux Bridge.

Anthony Kennerson

Opelousas

Kudos to Anthony!
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 12, 2016, 12:36:53 AM
Damn. Beat me to it, Grzz. I'm not hating.  :poke: :poke: :poke:


Kind of not so happy with the way the Advertiser chopped up my Op-Ed with the short syntax, but I guess that had to fit their editorial policy. But, they posted it, and that's all that counts.


Last time back in 2003 when I posted a similar article, I got a personal phone call from one of the Connector opponents (RIP, Kelly Caldwell) berating me. Let's see what happens this time.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 12, 2016, 12:54:20 AM
A bit of more detail, y'all, on the wack argument for Teche Ridge being built "half as long for half the costs":


As part of their 2003 lawsuit against the FHWA and LADOTD, the main anti-Connector group Concerned Citizens of Lafayette had put out a brief detailing their objections to the Connector Final Environmental Impact Statement, and listed their objections in that brief to the Final EIS that was posted in the ultimate 2003 Record of Decision, along with responses from FHWA/DOTD. I recently found the text of the ROD with both the CC's brief and the FHWA response, and it's quite illuminating.


First, here's how the CCL defends Teche Ridge:


(http://i68.tinypic.com/2rpxs9c.jpg) (http://i64.tinypic.com/v4pe9w.jpg)




For retrospect, here's a graph from the Acadiana Advocate showing roughly the Teche Ridge alignment:


(http://i63.tinypic.com/wl453.jpg)




And, here's how the FHWA/DOTD knocked CCL out of the park.


(http://i65.tinypic.com/166b0uc.jpg) (http://i67.tinypic.com/2vnmexf.jpg)


Remember, this includes both the Connector freeway AND the upgrade of US 90 south of there to LA 88...which is currently either in the design or construction stage. And, the $601 million figure for Teche Ridge is in 2003 USD$; extrapolate to 2015 and include ROW, engineering, and environmental mitigation costs, and you're easily north of $1 billion....pretty much the current costs of the Connector and US 90 upgrade to LA 88 combined.

But, "We can build Teche Ridge half as sooner for half the costs"?? MY. ASS.

Of course, the original feasibility study done for Teche Ridge by St. Martin Parish (paid for through surplus profits from the casinos there) has never been released to the public, neither then nor today. Gee, I wonder why??


Oh..and the 2003 ROD is available through both the Lafayette MPO (http://mpo.lafayettela.gov/projects/I-49connector/i-49_connector.asp) and Connector (http://lafayetteconnector.com/project-library/) (click on the "Historical Documents" toolbar) webpages.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 22, 2016, 10:49:46 AM
Another significant development just discovered today....the Acadiana Advocate has an article (http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/14928296-123/lafayette-planners-propose-alternative-design-for-i-49-connector-addresses-concerns-over-state-plan#comments) this morning on some Lafayette city officials submitting an alternative design for the I-49 Connector freeway that would address their concerns about the currently proposed design.


Their new proposal would eliminate entirely the two downtown interchanges at Second/Third Streets and Johnston Streets, and also fully elevate the freeway at the maximum 22" height throughout the downtown area. The original proposal would have lowered the freeway to nearly grade level between Jefferson St. and Johnston St, and lowered Second/Third and Johnston St pass underneath the BNSF/UP railline.


The new plan also proposes redeveloping the current Evangeline Thruway into a "urban boulevard" design where it is not covered under the current freeway ROW between Mudd Ave. and Taft/Fourteenth Streets.


My personal thoughts on this? Don't like 'em at all.


Eliminating the two downtown interchanges means that traffic wanting to get to downtown will have to use the existing Evangeline Thruway as it is right now...except that the plans are to reduce the Thruway to 2 lanes rather than 3 in either direction for conversion to Complete Streets design.  Could a reduced Thruway handle that traffic? Wouldn't eliminating direct access to I-49 defeat the entire purpose of redeveloping the Thruway for pedestrian/human traffic?


Also...does that mean that the proposed railroad underpasses planned at Johnston and Second/Third would be eliminated, and the current at-grade crossings retained? Those grade separations would eliminate a real barrier of access between downtown and points eastward.


Elevating the freeway downtown and eliminating the Johnston St. interchange would allow for restoring the Sixth St./Lee Avenue crossing...but at what costs for accessing ULL, since Johnston traffic wanting to reach I-49 would have to either use the Evangeline Thruway or University Avenue east to the Surrey Street interchange?


More importantly...what would a continuously elevated structure do for the former rail yard landfill site and possible issues of contamination of the water supply?


At the very least, the Johnston St. interchange should be retained, though perhaps, a CD system running parallel to the Connector freeway could be used to funnel traffic from downtown to relieve the pressure on the Evangeline Thruway. Willow Street would be a more than adequate access point for traffic coming to/from I-49 from the north.


But, I really don't think the current plan is that bad. Why not work with that and move on?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on February 22, 2016, 02:39:11 PM
At the very least, the Johnston St. interchange should be retained, though perhaps, a CD system running parallel to the Connector freeway could be used to funnel traffic from downtown to relieve the pressure on the Evangeline Thruway. Willow Street would be a more than adequate access point for traffic coming to/from I-49 from the north.

Remember that proposed alignment that I posted on one of these topics? You didn't like it, but this suggestion sounds like what I had drawn. I can't find it at the moment.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 23, 2016, 09:23:48 PM
I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on February 24, 2016, 07:38:47 AM
I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 24, 2016, 09:28:02 AM
I remember it, and I still don't like it...but it's not what the alternative alignment would be. There would be no interchanges or off ramps at all between I-49 and the downtown streets, but all of them would remain open and run underneath the elevated structure.

not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.


The caveat in that is that since the Evangeline Thruway runs parallel to the proposed Connector freeway in the downtown core area and serves as the local access roads for the freeway outside of it, the idea is that traffic wanting to go downtown would use the Willow Street and Surrey St interchanges to access the Thruway, then use that to get to the downtown through the local street network. The difference would be that there would be no *direct* access to the freeway from downtown.It would put some pressure on Evangeline Thruway, especially if they also propose to "road diet" that couplet into a Complete Streets boulevard for local development.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on February 24, 2016, 09:29:44 AM
not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.

The "exit" would be Evangeline Thruway. Local traffic would exit to Evangeline Thruway. I-49 would basically be an express route through the city.

IMO, not having a southbound exit for Johnston St. doesn't make sense. You have to have that exit, and it has to fly over or under the tracks. That exit gives you a direct channel into the heart of Lafayette, including easy access to downtown and UL.

Other than that, the no-exit option makes sense to me.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 24, 2016, 10:08:14 AM
not having exits to downtown can't be good for business in that area.

The "exit" would be Evangeline Thruway. Local traffic would exit to Evangeline Thruway. I-49 would basically be an express route through the city.

IMO, not having a southbound exit for Johnston St. doesn't make sense. You have to have that exit, and it has to fly over or under the tracks. That exit gives you a direct channel into the heart of Lafayette, including easy access to downtown and UL.

Other than that, the no-exit option makes sense to me.

Federal guidelines for Interstate exits don't allow for isolated off/on ramps or partial slip ramps. Interchanges have to be complete and spaced by a mile, or collector-distributor roads utilized. In this case, the Evangeline Thruway would act as the C-D roadway, and the Willow and University/Surrey interchanges would serve as the means of access to the C-D network.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on February 24, 2016, 12:47:53 PM
My main point is that this is a prime (and singular) opportunity to do something about that godawful curve between the tracks and the Thruway. I can't accept any proposal that preserves this curve and/or doesn't provide a seamless flow from the Connector to Johnston. The current proposal is just a waste of that opportunity.

"But what about traffic flowing north from Johnston to Louisiana Avenue?" Ah, so let's extend our vision a bit. One idea is to connect Johnston to Moss St. rather than Louisiana Ave. Northbound traffic that is going to I-10 will use the Connector, obviously. Local traffic can get from Moss to Louisiana via Simcoe or Willow. The prospect of traffic shifting from Louisiana Ave. to Moss and the cross streets will force the community to address the poor condition and uninviting environment of that part of the city. A successful revitalization effort would engage African-American leaders in those neighborhoods and ultimately improve racial relations as well as economic conditions.

Traffic that currently flows north from Johnston St. to Louisiana Ave. passes right through that area, largely without blinking, using the route to get to I-10 avoiding the Thruway. The current proposal gives no reason to address the blight along Louisiana Ave. People will use the Connector to avoid it altogether, and it will probably end up forgotten. At least by using the Thruway as a C/D, there is an incentive to improve not just that corridor but the neighborhoods north of the corridor.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 25, 2016, 01:49:12 PM
My main point is that this is a prime (and singular) opportunity to do something about that godawful curve between the tracks and the Thruway. I can't accept any proposal that preserves this curve and/or doesn't provide a seamless flow from the Connector to Johnston. The current proposal is just a waste of that opportunity.

That "godawful curve" was the byproduct of connecting Johnston Street to the former Ninth Street in order to reach the Thruway, as well as plan for the future Louisiana Avenue extension to I-10. The original proposal for the Connector freeway would resolve that issue by straightening that curve a bit and depressing Johnston St. below and underneath the BNSF/UP rail line. That would be more impossible if the Connector was raised north of Johnston to the same height as at Second/Third/Simcoe/Mudd....and the latter is required as part of the Sterling Grove mitigation.

Quote
"But what about traffic flowing north from Johnston to Louisiana Avenue?" Ah, so let's extend our vision a bit. One idea is to connect Johnston to Moss St. rather than Louisiana Ave. Northbound traffic that is going to I-10 will use the Connector, obviously. Local traffic can get from Moss to Louisiana via Simcoe or Willow. The prospect of traffic shifting from Louisiana Ave. to Moss and the cross streets will force the community to address the poor condition and uninviting environment of that part of the city. A successful revitalization effort would engage African-American leaders in those neighborhoods and ultimately improve racial relations as well as economic conditions.

Ummm....except that Moss Street ends at Jefferson Blvd, and is already accessed though Jefferson and Simcoe Streets. Plus, you would have to cut through the McComb-Veazey neighborhood to connect Johnston and Moss. Besides, traffic from downtown can continue to use Jefferson to access Moss Street. Nothing's broken here. Plus, there's a reason they put the easternmost I-10 interchange at the Louisiana Avenue extension rather than Moss Street: too close to the I-49/I-10/US 167 interchange.

Quote
Traffic that currently flows north from Johnston St. to Louisiana Ave. passes right through that area, largely without blinking, using the route to get to I-10 avoiding the Thruway. The current proposal gives no reason to address the blight along Louisiana Ave. People will use the Connector to avoid it altogether, and it will probably end up forgotten. At least by using the Thruway as a C/D, there is an incentive to improve not just that corridor but the neighborhoods north of the corridor.

So...just develop Louisiana Avenue from the Thruway to Simcoe Street as a Complete Streets project and get some local business on that corridor, just like what could be done for the Thruway. Obviously, without an I-49/Johnston Street interchange, people would have to use the Thruway to get to I-49 and/or I-10 (with Louisiana Avenue as an additional alternative to get to I-10 East). But there is University Avenue to get to I-10 West.

Like I said, I would rather keep both interchanges to allow for more direct access to I-49, and simply develop the Thruway as a "business" route with Complete Streets design, as the current plan does. Although, I wouldn't object to having a pedestrian/bicycle/potential bus bridge overspanning I-49 and the BNSF railroad line where Sixth Street/Lee Avenue used to cross. That would do wonders for reconnecting the city at that point, and could become the symbolic structure for the Connector at downtown.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on February 25, 2016, 02:41:56 PM
The original proposal for the Connector freeway would resolve that issue by straightening that curve a bit and depressing Johnston St. below and underneath the BNSF/UP rail line.

I'm not familiar with the current plan for the Johnston St. interchange. Another idea is to cut across Garfield St. to straighten the curve. I can accept that idea, but that will mean taking out some businesses and/or homes in the path. Even with the interchange, I still think a flyover ramp from I-49 southbound to Johnston St. makes more sense.

Ummm....except that Moss Street ends at Jefferson Blvd, and is already accessed though Jefferson and Simcoe Streets. Plus, you would have to cut through the McCovey-Veazey neighborhood to connect Johnston and Moss. Besides, traffic from downtown can continue to use Jefferson to access Moss Street. Nothing's broken here. Plus, there's a reason they put the easternmost I-10 interchange at the Louisiana Avenue extension rather than Moss Street: too close to the I-49/I-10/US 167 interchange.

I'm aware of all of this. The fact that La. Ave connects to I-10 is moot in this scenario because traffic going from Johnston St. to I-10 will use I-49, not La. Ave. or my proposed Moss-to-Louisiana scheme.

Quote
Traffic that currently flows north from Johnston St. to Louisiana Ave. passes right through that area, largely without blinking, using the route to get to I-10 avoiding the Thruway. The current proposal gives no reason to address the blight along Louisiana Ave. People will use the Connector to avoid it altogether, and it will probably end up forgotten. At least by using the Thruway as a C/D, there is an incentive to improve not just that corridor but the neighborhoods north of the corridor.
So...just develop Louisiana Avenue from the Thruway to Simcoe Street as a Complete Streets project and get some local business on that corridor ...

Again, the traffic that currently uses La. Ave. to get from Johnston St. to I-10 will have no reason to use La. Ave. once I-49 is complete. Why will businesses choose to participate in a redevelopment of a route that most people will ignore?

I wouldn't object to having a pedestrian/bicycle/potential bus bridge overspanning I-49 and the BNSF railroad line where Sixth Street/Lee Avenue used to cross. That would do wonders for reconnecting the city at that point, and could become the symbolic structure for the Connector at downtown.

This is worth considering.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 02, 2016, 04:56:05 PM
A new update, so bumping this thread:


The design team for the I-49 Connector freeway has now introduced a series of 12 alternative design options in response to initial criticisms and feedback on the proposed project. This article in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/04/01/what-those-12-options--49/82520078/) gives a detailed description of all of them; I will simply parphrase them here.


Concept 1A: The design as approved in the 2003 Record of Decision, with SPUIs/railroad grade separations at Second/Third Street couplet and Johnston Street, and mostly elevated in the downtown area except for an embanked segment between Jefferson St. and Johnston. The Evangeline Thruway would remain as is, but be reduced to a 2x2 couplet (from 3x3) and redesigned with pedestrian/bicycle access using Complete Streets design.


Concept 1B: Same as 1A except the 2nd/3rd and Johnston interchanges would be conventional tight urban diamond interchanges rather than SPUIs.


Concept 2A: Second/Third interchange and RR underpass eliminated; TUDI/RR underpass @ Johnston. Jefferson St. RR underpass remains.


Concept 2B: Johnston St interchange/RR underpass eliminated; TUDI/RR underpass at 2nd/3rd couplet. Jefferson RR underpass retained.


Concept 3: Split diamond interchange w/ roadway connecting 2nd/3rd and Johnston
              3A: Connecting roadway at-grade; no rail separations other than existing Jefferson St; mainline fully elevated between Jefferson and Johnston
                      possibly allowing for restored Sixth Street/Lee Avenue connection
              3B: Connecting roadway depressed, allowing for RR grade separations @ 2nd/3rd and Johnston; new RR underpass connection at 6th/Lee,
                      along w/ existing Jefferson underpass
              3C: Same as 3B but with connecting roadway "capped" between 2nd/3rd and Johnston, allowing for better pedestrian/alternative flow above


Concept 4: Direct access to I-49 at 2nd/3rd & Johnston eliminated entirely; instead, slip ramps to/from existing Evangeline Thruway used for downtown access; ramps located near Simcoe St/Mudd Avenue (for access to/from north) and near Fourteenth/Taft St (for access to/from south)
          4A: Evangeline Thruway retained as one-way couplet in between slip ramps, but beautified as "urban boulevard"; RR underpasses
                 @ Second, Jefferson, and Johnston
           4B: Same as 4A except no new RR underpasses other than existing one @ Jefferson
           4C: Evangeline Thruway couplet converted to 2 2-way local streets, reviving local street grid before Thruway was originally
                 constructed in 1960's
           4D: S/B Evangeline Thruway roadway converted to 4-lane "urban boulevard"; N/B roadway downgraded to local street

Concept 5: New parallel frontage roads built alongside mainline; 2nd/3rd Street couplet returned to individual 2-way operation w/ no RR underpass; TUDI at Johnston St.; Thruway remaining as one-way couplet but "urbanized"; fully elevated through downtown w/ 6th/Lee connection restored.

I'll give my comments on these alternatives shortly.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: I-39 on April 02, 2016, 06:46:37 PM
When will they decide on a final alternative?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 02, 2016, 08:57:58 PM
Any way we can get illustrations of these alternatives? Are they posted online?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 02, 2016, 09:45:34 PM
When will they decide on a final alternative?

They will analyze and get feedback from the public on these alternatives through the spring; they are expected to make a decision on the final alternative by this summer; probably by August. The LADOTD and FHWA still have to approve it through an Reevaluation to determine if a Supplemental EIS would be needed, which would mean another year and a half of study.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 02, 2016, 11:13:02 PM
Any way we can get illustrations of these alternatives? Are they posted online?

As of right now, not yet. The Connector website contains a zip file which contains the presentation slides of their latest Executive Committee meeting last week where the alternatives were introduced and (somewhat) illustrated...but they aren't yet on line at the site.
 
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 03, 2016, 01:17:00 PM
I did read through the list in the Advertiser article. Really odd that they have alternatives that eliminate the Johnston St. interchange. That's practically unfathomable. What would they do with US 167 in that situation? Keep it on the Thruway? Route it down 2nd/3rd Sts. and Congress St.?

The only logic I can see to listing those alternatives is for completeness and discussion.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 04, 2016, 12:43:33 AM
I did read through the list in the Advertiser article. Really odd that they have alternatives that eliminate the Johnston St. interchange. That's practically unfathomable. What would they do with US 167 in that situation? Keep it on the Thruway? Route it down 2nd/3rd Sts. and Congress St.?

The only logic I can see to listing those alternatives is for completeness and discussion.

More than likely, US 167 would stay on the Evangeline Thruway up to Johnston Street. US 90, which uses Cameron Street/Mudd Avenue to the Thruway, could be rerouted from there via W. University Ave/Congress St./Second-Third couplet, while Mudd Avenue reverts back to LA 94 all the way to Louisiana Avenue. Only thing about that, though, is that that would bring LA 94 directly through the Sterling Grove neighborhood...which is probably why LA 94 was rerouted through the Thruway to Simcoe Street to begin with, and why Moss Street terminates at Jefferson Blvd.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 04, 2016, 10:00:01 AM
If I were king, I'd do these:

* Route US 90 along Ambassador Caffery Pkwy, consuming LA 3073. The current route through Lafayette serves little purpose other than preserving a relic of the past.

* Truncate US 167 at the Pineville Expressway. The truncated route between Alexandria and Opelousas becomes parts of LA 13 and other state highways.

* Evangeline Thruway becomes Business I-49. I'm not aware of any green shields in Louisiana, but I think we should have them. And Evangeline Thruway is a logical case for a Business interstate until the Connector (and maybe even once we have the Connector, if US 90 is routed around Lafayette).

* Johnston Street becomes LA 7, (The old LA 7 is now US 371.) If the Johnston-Louisiana Ave. link isn't severed, then LA 7 also follows Louisiana Ave. to I-10.

Yes, this takes away Abbeville's US highway connection. Purists may argue that LA 14 isn't a logical terminus for a US highway.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 04, 2016, 02:26:30 PM
Personally?? I'd keep the status quo.


You could extend LA 13 from its terminus with US 167 at Turkey Creek north to US 71 at Meeker...but, what would you do with the segment from there to the intersection with LA 10 just west of Ville Platte? Or, the segment from the LA 10/LA 182 intersection at Nuba to the current I-49 interchange north of Opelousas?


You'd probably be better simply aligning US 90 along University Avenue to the University/Surrey/Evangeline Thruway (future I-49) intersection. An alternative would be simply University Ave. from Cameron Street, then Congress to the Second/Third couplet to the Evangeline Thruway, rather than Cameron/Mudd. The latter could become an extension of LA 94. Ambassador Caffery could be consolidated into a state highway, probably LA 3174. If Louisiana allowed for state Loop routes, that would be a decent candidate, especially when Ambassador Caffery North is finished.


The Johnston St./Louisiana Ave. linkage would not be severed under any circumstances...but I'd rather any single digit LA highway be more than just an Abbeville/Lafayette connection.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 04, 2016, 03:24:54 PM
but, what would you do with the segment from there to the intersection with LA 10 just west of Ville Platte?

Would become a separate state highway. Perhaps LA 267.

Or, the segment from the LA 10/LA 182 intersection at Nuba to the current I-49 interchange north of Opelousas?

I'd route LA 10 onto I-49 to the Lebeau exit. Notice that there is a segment of LA 10 between US 167 and I-49 that also carries LA 182, but LA 182 isn't signed on the Lebeau exit. That segment would just be LA 182.

You'd probably be better simply aligning US 90 along University Avenue to the University/Surrey/Evangeline Thruway (future I-49) intersection. An alternative would be simply University Ave. from Cameron Street, then Congress to the Second/Third couplet to the Evangeline Thruway, rather than Cameron/Mudd.

I don't see any point in continuing to route US 90 through Lafayette. What navigational purpose does your route serve? There's some logic in using University and following the historic route (much of which is BUS 90 anyway).

If Lafayette had a loop, this discussion would be moot anyway since US 90 could follow the loop.


Ambassador Caffery could be consolidated into a state highway, probably LA 3174. If Louisiana allowed for state Loop routes, that would be a decent candidate, especially when Ambassador Caffery North is finished.

I do agree that all of Amb. Caffery should be one state highway. At least, make the entire road LA 3073. Make the Bertrand extension LA 3025, and retire the LA 3184 designation. (Or keep 3184, since it's already signed at the I-10 exit, and retire 3025.)

The Johnston St./Louisiana Ave. linkage would not be severed under any circumstances...but I'd rather any single digit LA highway be more than just an Abbeville/Lafayette connection.

I did an extensive renumbering of LA highways that makes cross-state routes and gives them the single-digit odd numbers. I'd have to dig it out. I agree with you on principle, but the designation of Johnston-Louisiana as a unified state highway is more likely to happen.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 12, 2016, 01:12:19 PM
Illustrations of the 14 Tier 1 Concept design proposals for the I-49 Lafayette Connector freeway are now available at the LafayetteConnector.com website as a downloadable pdf file. To access them, go to this link (http://lafayetteconnector.com/project-library/#1460140481525-a98538ff-92b7), and click in the bar marked "Tier One Refinement Concepts And Evaluation Framework". You will need Adobe or another appropriate pdf reader to access these files.


Here are screencaps of some of those options:


(http://i63.tinypic.com/f56c9c.jpg)
Base Concept 1A (using approved 2003 FEIS/ROD Selected Alternative)
SPUIs & RR grade separations at 2nd/3rd & Johnston; embankment section between Jefferson overpass and Johnston; Sixth/Lee connection severed; Evangeline Thruway remains as one-way couplet connected to overall frontage system (via Willow and University/Surrey interchanges)




(http://i64.tinypic.com/2jaz341.jpg)
Concept 1B is same as 1A but uses Tight Urban Diamond interchanges rather than SPUIs @ Second/Third and Johnston interchanges.




(http://i64.tinypic.com/2n1xuly.jpg)
Base Concept 2A (Johnston St. Interchange/Underpass)
Second/Third interchange/underpass eliminated.






(http://i68.tinypic.com/20adkza.jpg)
Base Concept 2B (Second/Third Couplet Interchange/Underpass)
Johnston interchange/underpass eliminated.



(http://i67.tinypic.com/vruij6.jpg)
Base Concept 3A (Split Second-Third/Johnston Interchange w/ At-Grade C/D roads; continuous elevated structure)
The current Jefferson Street underpass would remain open, but no other RR underpasses would be built. I like this option less because of major potential rail/auto conflicts.




(http://i67.tinypic.com/2rz9mhc.jpg)
Base Concept 3B (3A + C/D roads depressed in a trench + RR Grade Seps @ 2nd/3rd & Johnston; Jefferson underpass converted to at-grade; Sixth/Lee connection restored)
If there was any way the Jefferson and Sixth/Lee connections could be restored to connect with the C/D's and pass underneath the RR, that would be my choice.




(http://i64.tinypic.com/14uu876.jpg)
Base Concept 3C: Same as 3B except the C/D roadways are both depressed and capped (cut-and-cover).






(http://i63.tinypic.com/66dnk1.jpg)
Base Concept 4A (Evangeline Thruway Connectivity System + RR Grade Separations)
In this scenario, no direct interchanges w/ Johnston or Second/Third; direct ramp connections with existing Evangeline Thruway; additional RR grade seperations. The Thruway would be redeveloped and landscaped as an "Urban Boulevard", along with the general downtown area. Main gripe of mine: the off ramp to the mainline to the north runs right adjacent to the Sterling Grove Historical District property; presenting issues with 4(f) mitigation.









(http://i65.tinypic.com/2u3w4g3.jpg)
Base Concept 4B (Evangeline Thruway Connectivity System, No RR Grade Separations)






(http://i65.tinypic.com/ffbalf.jpg)
Base Concept 4C (Two-Way Evangeline Thruway Connectivity)
The Thruway is converted to 2 two-way arterials between Simcoe and Taft/Fourteenth Sts. and "urbanized".






(http://i66.tinypic.com/vry0zl.jpg)
Base Concept 4D (Evangeline Parkway)
The southbound road of the Thruway is converted into a 4- or 6-lane "urban boulevard"; the n/b road is downgraded to a 2-way local street.






(http://i63.tinypic.com/33p5vur.jpg)
Base Concept 5A (Parallel Frontage Roads + Evangeline Thruway Rollback)
Parallel frontage roads replace the through function of the Thruway, and the existing thruway roads are reverted back to the local street system. RR underpass/interchange at Johnston; Second/Third returned to two-way streets or one-way couplet.


My preferences would be: 1) 3B but modified to allow for underpass connections w/ Jefferson and restored 6th/Lee; 2) 3C; 3) 1A (original FEIS/ROD concept, but perhaps modified with Evangeline Parkway and Sixth/Lee overpass; 4) 2B. NO to Concept 4. Only way I'd accept 5A would be if frontage roads were depressed to allow for full connections with cross streets passing underneath the RR.




OK...comments, anyone??
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 12, 2016, 02:07:58 PM
Thanks for taking and posting those captures. Your post is a good summary of the alternatives and the images let us see them side-by-side and compare them.

I'm not wild about any of these designs. But you already know that. I still want a flyover ramp from the Connector southbound to Johnston St. southbound. The ones with Johnston St. crossing the RR at-grade are non-starters. Leaving that crossing at-grade would be a huge waste of this opportunity. I'm also not wild about the idea of having underpasses, trenches and tunnels, because flooding and the aquifer. If those are serious options, then we might as well consider doing a Big Dig of the South and giving the urbanists a giant laboratory on the surface once it's done.

Looks like the access ramps in Concept 1 are rather long and overlap. That's a lot of concrete to help reinforce the idea that the Connector is dividing the community.

I'd say I'm leaning towards Concept 4A (using the Thruway as the local access) if they can figure out how to minimize the impact on Sterling Grove. Especially if they add my flyover ramp. The Concept-4 Connector doesn't divide the community; it merely passes over it.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 14, 2016, 11:57:19 AM

[...]
I'm not wild about any of these designs. But you already know that. I still want a flyover ramp from the Connector southbound to Johnston St. southbound. The ones with Johnston St. crossing the RR at-grade are non-starters. Leaving that crossing at-grade would be a huge waste of this opportunity. I'm also not wild about the idea of having underpasses, trenches and tunnels, because flooding and the aquifer. If those are serious options, then we might as well consider doing a Big Dig of the South and giving the urbanists a giant laboratory on the surface once it's done.

The underpasses would only be for accomodating grade separations underneath the railroad, the actual mainline would be elevated on structure. Upgraded pumping would be more than suitable for accomodating heavy rain events. A "Big Dig" scenario would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive, and wouldn't work anyway because of the need for elevating the mainline north of the L&DRR rail spur crossing.

A single flyover ramp at Johnston isn't viable due to Federal regs calling for complete interchange connections or C/D roadways.

Since the only connection to downtown that is cut off is Lee/Sixth, I don't see how any of the Connector options are that "divisive", other than the visual impact. Traffic can still pass underneath the structure.

I still think Concept 3B is best, because it allows for direct connection to I-49 through the split interchange, retains the full access to downtown by retaining Jefferson and Sixth/Lee (albeit returning Jefferson to an at-grade RR crossing), and retains a consistently graded mainline elevated structure without the need for additional ramps. If they could find a way to restore the Jefferson underpass and add a new one at Sixth/Lee to connect with the split interchange roadways, so much the better.

Concept 3C is even better, because capping the C/D roadways while allowing full access to the cross streets would allow full development of the surface level, and allow maximum pedestrian flow. It would also mitigate flooding concerns, because of the capping.

Quote
Looks like the access ramps in Concept 1 are rather long and overlap. That's a lot of concrete to help reinforce the idea that the Connector is dividing the community.

One of the original modifications to Concept 1A offered would have consolidated the two downtown exits into one ramp that would then divide to serve both streets. It would have also braided that ramp with the on-ramp from the other two interchanges (Willow for the north; University/Surrey from the south).

Quote
I'd say I'm leaning towards Concept 4A (using the Thruway as the local access) if they can figure out how to minimize the impact on Sterling Grove. Especially if they add my flyover ramp. The Concept-4 Connector doesn't divide the community; it merely passes over it.

A non-starter in my book, because the last thing they need is a red flag for Sterling Grove to further push their opposition to the entire project. Access to downtown can be provided just as well through the Willow and University/Surrey interchanges, and Option 2B. In addition, there is a Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement for mitigating impacts to Sterling Grove and especially St. Genevieve Catholic Church that could be impacted by the ramps being so close to the church.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 14, 2016, 01:46:02 PM
This is a comment that was posted to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser that shows the mentality of those who are opposed to the Connector freeway. It's their right to oppose it, of course: but I can disagree with their points.


The commenter is Blake Escudier, and is attached to this article: http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/03/16/money-needs-part--49-lafayette-planning/81885320/


Quote
This is the point that must be made: Why continue with the elevated highway over Lafayette? Is it just because in 2002 the Environmental study was completed? - The money is not there other than an elevated highway with a few exits!

This is not what we need for Lafayette Economically. We need to be serious about what the effects of the elevated highway to bypass the city is going to mean! Does no one drive through Morgan City? Has anyone left the highway to stop in the City? – Or do you stop in Patterson or Berwick?

Has no one driven on the I-210 around Lake Charles. The economic develo
[/font][/size]pment is amazing! Has anyone driven on I-220 around Shreveport?

The elevated highway will not help the actual City of Lafayette – it will help Broussard, New Iberia, and all the companies who use highway distribution. But as a city for Arts & Culture and quality of life – the elevated Highway is not going to attract people – it is going to send them on their way.

Think about this – until Baton Rouge gets a bypass for I-10 (or fixes the intersection after the bridge) – all traffic from the Western parts of the US will use I-49 as a bypass of Baton Rouge. (If you haven’t sat in the hour long traffic jams at the bridge then you don’t know why this will be true)

The elevated highway (Which is not funded yet – only the environmental study has been completed – and there is legal action on that as well) will only allow all this traffic to pass right over Lafayette.

If a Highway Loop were created – Lafayette and surrounding communities would be able to Expand their infrastructure – the same way as expansion North and South have happened with interstate 90 presently- and can be see with the growth along Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

This I-49 plan is to elevate and cut of 5.5 miles of Lafayette – so highway traffic will flow faster – yet most of the traffic is local – the highway will still be crowded and get more crowded with present I-10 traffic from the West going around Baton Rouge.

Solution: Start planning a loop that allows for infrastructure growth. There is empty land between Lafayette and Breaux Bridge that can open a whole swath of potential (of course that means working with St. Martin Parish). Even if the elevation plans continue – a By-pass should be planned now! A by-pass would have exits and allow empty lands to be developed – while some of the lands may not be located within Lafayette Parish – that should not matter.

Be smart – think of the future and stand fast for what Lafayette can be – not just what the State and Federal staff want to do. They want the easiest and cheapest route for a North-South Highway. Should Lafayette give in and allow these entities to say we are not important – that our economic future does not matter? – No one can prove that an Elevated Highway has a higher potential ROI for our Parish – than a Loop! What investment will our present leadership make? What politics are being played? What are our representatives giving up our future economic growth for? What is the return for Acadiana?


[/size]If we stand fast and say NO to the elevated highway – the State and Federal DOT entities will be required to do an alternative. That alternative should be the Loop – OR – if the elevated Highway is built – then an environmental analysis should be completed on a Loop as part of the deal. This way – maybe within another 15 years – the loop can be built and Lafayette won’t be forgotten as people drive over the city!


Naturally, I had to post a response:


Quote
With all due respect to Mr. Escudier, this is a tired and already easily repudiated argument. LADOTD and the Acadiana MPO officials have already studied the alternatives of loop bypasses, and have found that they would not significantly aid in the development of downtown, would add significant costs and delays to completing I-49 South, and still would not remove traffic from the present Evangeline Thruway.

Also...how "divisive" is an elevated highway which still allows cross traffic to freely travel underneath, which still provides access to major core destinations through downtown, plus ULL and the airport, and (funding pending) can be completed in 5 years rather than waiting 15-20 years for a loop bypass like Teche Ridge through St. Martin Parish or the Lafayette Regional Expressway loop? The current Thruway is already a major divider due to the heavy traffic, and the presence of the BNSF/UP railine furthers the division. At least, the proposed Connector would allow for free cross flow, and also add additional railroad grade separations for further improvements.

It should also be noted that the land in St. Martin Parish isn't quite so "open" as Mr. Escudier implies; it is also prime farmland and woodlands that would be taken away for his desired "development". You'd think that environmentally concerned people would oppose such sprawl and uncontrolled growth merely to avoid looking at an elevated highway structure.

Using I-210 in Lake Charles as a basis for justifying a loop ignores the basic fact that I-210 was built in coordination with I-10, not as a substitution for the latter. It serves its own independent purpose of accessing McNeese St. Univ and some Port of Lake Charles interests. Would Mr. Escudier even insist that Lake Charles remove I-10 through their downtown area?

Ultimately, growth in Lafayette Parish in the long term would justify the construction of a loop freeway, and I would favor that when the time comes. Right now, though, the Connector freeway is needed and long overdue as the most effective, direct, and cost-efficient means to complete I-49; and the current elevated highway proposal, with all its acknowledged flaws, remains the best proposal for meeting this goal. Why not let the process work to find the best proposal that balances all the concerns, rather than continue to obstruct from the sidelines?


Let the debate continue....as long as the Connector gets funded and built.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 29, 2016, 09:06:29 AM
Bumping for an update...


On Wednesday , LADOTD held an Open Workshop public meeting concerning the announcement of the 12 Tier One Design Concepts that are being offered for the Connector freeway through Lafayette. Not surprisingly enough, it didn't go too well.


First, a new 13th concept was introduced: a "partially depressed" option that would drop the freeway below grade between Mudd Avenue and south of Pinhook Road, with all the cross streets overpassing the main lanes.


But, from the general reaction of the public attending the meeting, it seems that none of them would be suitable; as opposition to the Connector freeway in general remains as strong there as it was in 2003. The prevailing view is that they would support converting the Evangeline Thruway into an "urban boulevard", but would rather I-49 be completed through a bypass; presumably the Teche Ridge eastern bypass through St. Martin Parish.


Unfortunately, I lost my Advertiser subscription, so I can't quote any of their articles as they are behind the paywall.


I don't think LADOTD will warm to the idea of a boulevard replacing the freeway or re-routing through Teche Ridge, so I'm fully expecting another lawsuit to be pursued after this process is completed, with more stalling and obstruction.


Once I get some illustrations, I will post them.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 29, 2016, 12:36:08 PM
But, from the general reaction of the public attending the meeting, it seems that none of them would be suitable; as opposition to the Connector freeway in general remains as strong there as it was in 2003. The prevailing view is that they would support converting the Evangeline Thruway into an "urban boulevard", but would rather I-49 be completed through a bypass; presumably the Teche Ridge eastern bypass through St. Martin Parish.

I don't think LADOTD will warm to the idea of a boulevard replacing the freeway or re-routing through Teche Ridge, so I'm fully expecting another lawsuit to be pursued after this process is completed, with more stalling and obstruction.

[facepalm] If the community cannot demonstrate that they truly want it, it's not going to happen. Here comes another decade of talking about it, of the opponents whining and throwing out Teche Ridge, of more people like you rebutting to deaf ears, and nothing getting done. I-49 South will begin and end at Pinhook Road. The stretch in St. Charles and Jefferson Parishes will get built first.

I'm surprised that they had the nerve to introduce a depressed option. Big Dig of the South might actually make it onto paper, though I give it almost zero chance of being built.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 29, 2016, 01:25:35 PM
Problem is, though, the Feds and LADOTD want I-49 South completed, and they can't do it without going through Lafayette. They most definitely WILL NOT do it through Teche Ridge, because if LADOTD is that serious about getting I-49 South getting done, any bypass would be a non-starter due to already preestablished purpose and need, and the threat of even further delay. Plus, why build the interchanges at Albertsons' Parkway and Ambassador Caffery Parkway merely to have traffic go through a 4-lane boulevard to get to I-10/I-49?


There is another issue, too: If the local folks want an "urbanized boulevard" out of the Evangeline Thruway, they can only get it as part of the Connector freeway being built. There is no way the Feds or the state will fund a standalone upgrade of the Thruway otherwise; and even less of a way that they will combine Teche Ridge with urbanization like the New Acadiana Urbanists and the Old NIMBYs want it. This isn't Loop It where at least LA 3132 exists: Teche Ridge still has to be studied and built.


All they are doing with this is delaying one of two inevitable outcomes: The Connector is built with the amenities suggested, and everyone adapts; or I-49 South is killed outright because they won't complete it.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 29, 2016, 02:45:32 PM
All they are doing with this is delaying one of two inevitable outcomes: The Connector is built with the amenities suggested, and everyone adapts; or I-49 South is killed outright because they won't complete it.

And I dare say that the goal of some of these opponents is to kill I-49 South altogether. What can they get out of it besides gratification for "protecting the environment"?

The best theory that I have is that some of these people see a lot of money to be made in developing the Teche Ridge corridor. With or without I-49, we could get a parkway along the Teche Ridge corridor, either as a state highway or a collaboration between Lafayette and St. Martin parishes. A parkway would open that area up for development, in fact more than a freeway would.

Picture, if you will, one or more River Ranch-style developments in the open area just east of Lafayette along the Vermillion (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Anse+La+Butte,+LA+70517/@30.2299844,-91.9683676,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x862484eaaccc4573:0xd7761b1e5bcd6082). With a Teche Ridge parkway, such a development becomes almost a no-brainer.

And it would be easy to sell residential development in that area; with the new parkway, you can bypass Lafayette altogether to get to Broussard or I-10.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 29, 2016, 03:55:54 PM
A parkway along Teche Ridge?? Seriously?


Keep in mind that most advocates of Teche Ridge as a freeway loop around Lafayette are touting it as an alternative hurricane evacuation route for Iberia and St. Martin Parish. That's nice and all, but what about Broussard and all the development that has sprouted along the US 90 corridor from Youngsville on north? Unless money is falling out of the sky real quick to build the Lafayette Regional eXpressway loop around the southern and western portion of Lafayette, it's either US 90/Evangeline Thruway or bust for hurricane evac. The main idea of Teche Ridge is to satisfy the minimal requirements of completing I-49 South to New Orleans.


An at-grade parkway might be better for localized development in St. Martin Parish, but why not save the money for four laning LA 31 from Breaux Bridge to St. Martinville and LA 96 from Broussard to St. Martinville, too?


A full freeway loop around Greater Lafayette in the long term would be a perfect solution for development of St. Martin and Lafayette Parish. But, that should be after the Connector and US 90 is fully freewayized, not a substitute for it..
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 29, 2016, 04:20:01 PM
Assume for a moment that they are not radical environmentalists who simply object to any further expansion of the highway system. (That's the easiest explanation.)

I don't buy the argument that the Teche Ridge proponents truly want the Teche Ridge route for hurricane evacuation. I doubt that they actually care about hurricane evacuation. We can evacuate "just fine" with the existing Evangeline Thruway. And massive hurricane evacuations are going to be very rare events -- no more than four or five times a decade.

The development of I-49 Connector and/or LRX will have a transformative on the flow of traffic through and around Lafayette. If one or both get built, the US 90 corridor becomes much more attractive to economic development. But if I-49 is killed and the LRX never happens, the US 90 corridor could become very unattractive. Especially as Texas completes the I-69 system and upgrades its ports. Who's going to unload their cargo in New Orleans and truck it up US 90 through Lafayette when you can unload and truck it through Texas's infrastructure? Why should oil producers continue to bring oil through southeast Louisiana?

Meanwhile, congestion increases in Broussard and Youngsville the longer I-49 goes unbuilt. Over time, it will become less attractive to live there. Open one or two more exits between La. Avenue and LA 324, upgrade LA 96 and bam, the land between Lafayette and Breaux Bridge becomes a great place to develop homes and live.

Find out who owns the land on the Teche Ridge corridor route. Especially the pasture land around LA 343 east of Oakbourne Country Club and north to I-10. Then find out whether they support the connector. If they support the Teche Ridge route over the Connector, then they almost certainly expect a highway through their land to raise its value tremendously.

If I owned land out there, I'd probably jump on the Teche Ridge bandwagon. Because I'd love to have the state build a new highway right through my land and open it up for development.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 29, 2016, 11:04:08 PM
The official website for the Connector freeway just posted new files on the latest meetings, including updated graphics of all the alternatives. Here is the graphic for the latest Concept 6A alternative, which is the partially depressed alternative.

(http://i66.tinypic.com/4q3okx.jpg)

The interesting thing here is that unless I'm reading it wrong, Johnston Street, Lee Avenue/Sixth Street, and Jefferson Street would all be elevated both over the mainline and the BNSF/UP railroad.

The main issue I see is that all of the cross street elevations would be very disruptive for construction.

Also, the raising of Mudd Avenue would extend into the Sterling Grove District...which would be a definite non-starter.

I'd still prefer 3B, 3C, or the 1A with some modifications; I would have no objections to including some concept of the Evangeline Parkway or a "grand boulevard" along with that.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on April 30, 2016, 04:16:57 PM
So it seems that the Lafayette Connector project is likely to never be constructed. Is that the case?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 30, 2016, 04:21:18 PM
It won't as long as the opponents continue to make lots of noise about it and file lawsuits.

This is a city that took 30 years to build a bridge across its modest river because the route would go through somebody's neighborhood. And when the built it, they slapped a 35-mph speed limit on the new road--because they let someone else build a new neighborhood right through the route.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 30, 2016, 07:53:20 PM
It won't as long as the opponents continue to make lots of noise about it and file lawsuits.

This is a city that took 30 years to build a bridge across its modest river because the route would go through somebody's neighborhood. And when the built it, they slapped a 35-mph speed limit on the new road--because they let someone else build a new neighborhood right through the route.

That would be the Camellia Boulevard crossing of the Vermillion River, which spawned the River Ranch development.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on May 03, 2016, 04:21:54 PM
With all the NIMBYs in the world, it's a wonder anything gets built!
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 03, 2016, 09:47:11 PM
Remember jbnv's idea of a "Big Dig of the South"?? It just might now come to fruition.


The LafayetteConnector.com (http://www.lafayetteconnector.com) site has now updated its Tier One options for the I-49 Connector freeway in order to add another concept design alternative. Basically, it's similar to Concept 6A, the partially depressed alternative, but with one difference: the mainline freeway would be covered between Simcoe Street and Taft Street.


Here's an illustration of this new concept (labeled Concept 6B):


(http://i63.tinypic.com/14sh0l5.jpg)


One fascinating aspect of both 6A and 6B is that Jefferson Street railroad underpass, and the Sixth Street/Lee Avenue and Johnston Street at-grade rail crossings, are now converted to grade separated overpasses of the BNSF/UP railroad line. Also, Mudd Avenue is now elevated to pass over both I-49 and the parallel Evangeline Thruway access roads.


The 6B option is essentially a variation of the original "cut-and-cover" proposal that was offered through the Lafayette North-South Corridor Study, albeit the original proposal used the Evangeline Thruway through its entire length, rather than the curve closer to the railroad.


One of my original issues with that option was the excessive grade difference between the L&D rail spur crossing and where the depressed/capped section would begin...but that would be less of an issue with the current routing. Disruption during construction and increased risk to the Chicot Aquifier would be major issues.


Thoughts, anyone?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Rothman on May 04, 2016, 09:11:53 AM
I don't know about it coming to fruition.  I'm thinking of the alternatives proposed for the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse, NY.  Alternatives are added when there's enough pressure brought to bear upon a DOT, but just like the tunnel alternative in Syracuse, a "Little Dig" for the Lafayette Connector may just be included for show or appeasement.  Takes a lot of benefit for such a costly endeavor to beat out other, cheaper alternatives.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 04, 2016, 11:09:48 AM
I don't know about it coming to fruition.  I'm thinking of the alternatives proposed for the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse, NY.  Alternatives are added when there's enough pressure brought to bear upon a DOT, but just like the tunnel alternative in Syracuse, a "Little Dig" for the Lafayette Connector may just be included for show or appeasement.  Takes a lot of benefit for such a costly endeavor to beat out other, cheaper alternatives.

Considering the costs of an elevated viaduct as compared to a partially depressed/fully covered alternative, I would have to see whether or not this "Little Dig" alternative would be more expensive than the fully elevated options.

I do know that it would be far more disruptive due to the needed severing of cross streets, and elevating Mudd Avenue over the Thruway to clear the mainlines is a real issue, especially since it would penetrate Sterling Grove Historical District.

It would most definitely resolve the "Elevated freeways are divisive" issue...though probably not enough for the NIMBYs and New Urbanists who would insist on their "Teche Ridge Bypass + Evangeline Boulevard" fantasy.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on May 04, 2016, 07:29:28 PM
If I were a civil engineering student at UL, I'd strongly consider working on a proposal for the submerged viaduct. Someone could get their career off to a good start with this.

I don't think it's totally implausible. The proposal and plan would have to address the major environmental issues: protecting the Chicot Aquifer, and handling flooding. I would look at the lessons learned from Big Dig and similar projects. I would strongly consider some sort of housing that is prefabricated, with the environmental systems built in, and installed into the channel.

I would also make sure that the plan that I present to the public has a clear vision for the end result. What becomes of the land above and around the viaduct? Almost surely the land immediately above it would become some sort of public park. Perhaps new park grounds for Festival International and Festivals Acadien? Perhaps a transportation hub? (Did they ever build that multimodal transportation hub that was discussed years ago?)

The New Urbanists will probably buy into this idea. But it will be DOA with the environmentalists, because the aquifer. It may be a tough sell for Sterling Grove and other affected neighborhoods, as they will have to endure multiple years of difficulty on a theory.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 05, 2016, 08:26:51 AM
Well, there is a history behind it: remember that in 1993, the recommended corridor for the Connector for the North/South Corridor study was a depressed/capped freeway between Mudd Avenue and Jefferson Street. That corridor, though assumed the freeway would run directly between the Evangeline Thruway couplet, rather than curve towards downtown like the current alternative. It was the Feds who ultimately rejected that alternative, citing practical issues of construction and the need to maintain I-49 as a hurricane evacuation route.


The current 6A/6B concepts are a bit different than that because they wouldn't depress the freeway as much as the original (10' maximum versus 18'), and the alignment away from Sterling Grove and the Thruway wouldn't be directly as disruptive. The overpasses over the railroad at Johnston, Sixth/Lee, and Jefferson would be quite intriguing as "gateway bridges", especially if visible under Concept 6A.


The capped concept could also be quite nice for using the space above the freeway, as jbnv noted, for development.


BTW, the multimodal transpo facility now exists as the Rosa Parks Transportation Center; located on Cypress Street between Lee and Jefferson streets. They managed to consolidate Amtrak, the city bus system, and Greyhound's national bus service into one building.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 05, 2016, 09:38:28 AM
Welp...I finally got my subscription to the Lafayette Advertiser redone...and I found this this morning. Seems like the usual bit of obstructionism by opponents of the Connector freeway finally got them in trouble with the leaders of the Design Team.


http://klfy.com/ap/highway-official-i-49-opponents-should-quit-design-group/ (http://klfy.com/ap/highway-official-i-49-opponents-should-quit-design-group/)


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/05/04/interstate-49-leader-support-connector-resign/83918156/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/05/04/interstate-49-leader-support-connector-resign/83918156/)


During the first public meetings discussing the Connector freeway, some members of the Community Work Group had suggested that the "grand boulevard" concept that was originally conceived as a supplement to the Connector freeway alignment instead be built as a standalone concept in place of the freeway. It just so happened that those same members were also the most strident opponents of the Connector freeway for years, having favored for a long time a bypass alternative around the city...mostly, the Teche Ridge bypass through St. Martin Parish.


Toby Picard, who oversees the Connector Design Team for LADOTD, immediately rejected that idea, citing the fact that a boulevard design as a replacement for the Connector is a non-starter since it would not meet Interstate standards and would not complete I-49 South through Lafayette. He probably also saw the implications that a bypass alignment would not be accepted by either LADOTD or FHWA, and that all the design studies were keyed on the Connector freeway as the path for I-49 South.


Almost immediately, those same members pushing the boulevard concept went public, venting that the design team was "stifiling" public comment and not allowing full discussions of alternatives; essentially driving the Connector freeway "down the throats" of Lafayette citizens.


Today, Picard responded through an email essentially asking those opponents to resign from the CWG, and reinforcing the Design Team's and LADOTD's commitment to building the Connector freeway as approved through the current process.


I already see the usual opponents readying the next lawsuit. Bring it. It will go like the last one did.




UPDATE: Now also this article at the Acadiana Advocate:


http://theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/15691227-123/dotd-says-i-49-connector-likely-will-be-interstate-citizens-who-want-alternative-should-step-down

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 11, 2016, 10:46:33 AM
Two more Lafayette Advertiser Op-Eds for the Connector that encompass the roiling debate:

First, an Editorial by the paper itself posted on May 3rd, accusing LADOTD and FHWA of "stonewalling" the public by not allowing adequate feedback on the freeway alternatives (and, supposedly, alternative corridors or reduced scope alternatives such as the "boulevard" concept):

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/03/editorial-time-speak-up--49/83890070/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/03/editorial-time-speak-up--49/83890070/)


And then, the official response from LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, posted on Monday, defending the Connector Study's public input process:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/09/wilson-public-has-been-allowed-input--49-connector/84136024/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/09/wilson-public-has-been-allowed-input--49-connector/84136024/)

This snippage from Wilson's guest editorial gives me much hope (bolded emphasis added by me):

Quote
We have not been shy that our intent is not to reconsider or re-evaluate decisions made in the past. We are focused on advancing the project within the scope of the decisions that have been made.

At every event, and at every opportunity, the community has been encouraged to share ideas, opinions and questions — via comment cards, yes, but also in person with DOTD and LCP staff, via email, the project website, and social media. Even workshops exercises are carefully documented and reported on, viewable on LafayetteConnector.com (http://"http://www.lafayetteconnector.com).

There are a few strident opponents in the community who demand that the DOTD provide a public forum for them to rail against the project or debate issues long since settled. This, they claim, is the only way they can be truly “heard.” We accept there will always be some opposition to a project such as this, but we must honor the commitments that have been made to the community and work together toward a project we can all be proud of.

The Connector can be a model for balancing transportation needs with development opportunities and working together on common challenges. I am disappointed that in this case accuracy and fairness seem to be in such short supply. Our community deserves better than one-sided ideas and reporting that puts controversy ahead of the public’s interest.

Secretary Wilson gets an "A-MEN" (and "A-WOMEN") from me for that alone.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on May 11, 2016, 11:00:09 AM
This snippage from Wilson's guest editorial gives me much hope (bolded emphasis added by me):

Quote
There are a few strident opponents in the community who demand that the DOTD provide a public forum for them to rail against the project or debate issues long since settled. This, they claim, is the only way they can be truly “heard.” We accept there will always be some opposition to a project such as this, but we must honor the commitments that have been made to the community and work together toward a project we can all be proud of.

Mr. Wilson gets it. These opponents won't accept a proposal based on decades of research and study. They want it their way. They will talk the project to death if they can.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Bobby5280 on May 11, 2016, 01:46:18 PM
The 6B design alternative should be something that would make everyone happy, as long as it can properly address concerns about flooding and safeguard the Chicot Aquifier.

There's a few other places in the country where freeways have been effectively hidden with caps or wide, decorative crossings. In downtown Dallas, Klyde Warren Park caps the Woodall Rodgers Freeway for 3 blocks. That allows downtown to merge with Victory Park without the freeway posing any obstruction.

The cap being proposed in Lafayette would be significantly longer though. Residents would have to put up with some serious traffic issues during construction. However, the problems of disconnected streets and other obstructions would disappear once the project was finished.

I think other long un-finished highway projects, like Watkins Drive in Kansas City, could be completed using cut & cover techniques or at least depressing the freeway under elaborate, park-like crossings. There are numerous examples of that in Seattle.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 12, 2016, 10:54:35 AM
The 6B design alternative should be something that would make everyone happy, as long as it can properly address concerns about flooding and safeguard the Chicot Aquifier.

There's a few other places in the country where freeways have been effectively hidden with caps or wide, decorative crossings. In downtown Dallas, Klyde Warren Park caps the Woodall Rodgers Freeway for 3 blocks. That allows downtown to merge with Victory Park without the freeway posing any obstruction.

The cap being proposed in Lafayette would be significantly longer though. Residents would have to put up with some serious traffic issues during construction. However, the problems of disconnected streets and other obstructions would disappear once the project was finished.

I think other long un-finished highway projects, like Watkins Drive in Kansas City, could be completed using cut & cover techniques or at least depressing the freeway under elaborate, park-like crossings. There are numerous examples of that in Seattle.

The more I look at Concept 6B, the more there is to like about it.

There are some fundamental differences between this new proposal and the original LN/SCS "cut and cover" concept.


(http://i65.tinypic.com/1199g0j.jpg)
Diagram of original "cut-and-cover" plaza concept from Lafayette North-South Corridor Study -- 1993

The original 1993 study concept would have sunk the I-49 mainlines some 20 feet below the surface and aligned it directly along the median of the existing Evangeline Thruway from Mudd Avenue to Jefferson Street, following the "EA-1" alignment. That would have posed a real threat of flooding and hampered it's ability as a hurricane evacuation route; plus, the disruptions during construction for residents along the Thruway and for Sterling Grove District would have been overwhelming.


(http://i63.tinypic.com/14sh0l5.jpg)
Concept 6B (Partially Depressed & Capped I-49 Connector Mainline) -- via LafayetteConnector.com

By contrast, Concept 6B (and Concept 6A, without the cap) avoids that by only depressing the mainlines 10 feet below the surface, and uses the approved alignment in the core area away from the Thruway. This would place the mainline "trench" above the 100-year floodplain line of the Vermillion River basin, significantly reducing both the risk of flooding and the possibility of penetrating the Chicot Aquifier sands. Also, in order to maintain cross-street connectibility, the railroad crossings at Johnston, Sixth/Lee, and Jefferson streets are converted to grade-separated overpasses. The cap would also allow for development and hardscaping of the space above the freeway for public use.

The only drawbacks I can see that may need to be tweaked for 6B to work better are: 1) Cypress Street downtown would be depressed and disconnected from both Jefferson and Lee in order to allow the railroad overpasses to work; and 2) Mudd Avenue would have to be elevated above the Thruway and the I-49 mainlanes, with the structure possibly extending into Sterling Grove District.

Also, with such a change from the original, a Supplemental EIS would probably be required for environmental clearance.

The key issue, as always, though, is $$$$$. Would 6B be that much more costly than the elevated options?

Anything that breaks the logjam and gets this built is fine by me.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on May 12, 2016, 11:33:03 AM
Instead of elevating Mudd Avenue, we could just eliminate the Mudd Avenue interchange and cut Mudd Ave. into two separate streets. Reroute US 90 down University Ave. or Amb. Caffery. Rename Mudd Ave west as Cameron Street to reinforce the breach.

Traffic that currently uses Mudd Avenue to cross the Thruway would have to use Willow, Simcoe or 2nd/3rd Sts. instead. That means less traffic through Stirling Grove, so they should support this idea. It also gives the city incentive to clean up Simcoe Street between the Thruway and Louisiana Ave.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 12, 2016, 11:51:05 AM
Instead of elevating Mudd Avenue, we could just eliminate the Mudd Avenue interchange and cut Mudd Ave. into two separate streets. Reroute US 90 down University Ave. or Amb. Caffery. Rename Mudd Ave west as Cameron Street to reinforce the breach.

Traffic that currently uses Mudd Avenue to cross the Thruway would have to use Willow, Simcoe or 2nd/3rd Sts. instead. That means less traffic through Stirling Grove, so they should support this idea. It also gives the city incentive to clean up Simcoe Street between the Thruway and Louisiana Ave.

Mudd Avenue would not be an interchange under any option: the roadway would simply be grade separated over the Thruway and the mainlines. The north ramps to/from I-49 would connect with the Thruway at Simcoe Street.

The problem with severing Mudd is that it is still a decent collector street to the west; it turns into Cameron Street and carries US 90 and LA 94.

Perhaps the overpass can be tweaked so that it doesn't penetrate into the district, and access roads could be built to connect Mudd to the Thruway lanes.

Fixing Simcoe Street to transition into the Second-Third couplet and carrying US 90 over that to Congress Street and then University Avenue to Cameron Street? That would be a plan.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on May 12, 2016, 12:55:15 PM
The problem with severing Mudd is that it is still a decent collector street to the west; it turns into Cameron Street and carries US 90 and LA 94.

I'm not aware that LA 94 was ever routed onto Mudd Avenue. It formerly went down Simcoe, but now follows Louisiana Avenue to the Thruway.

The US 90 routing on Cameron St. is virtually useless within the city limits. Hence I'm suggesting to reroute it down University Avenue (using much of the existing business route) or Amb. Caffery.

I have no idea what the current traffic flow through that intersection is like. I doubt that it is so high that it will upset traffic flow through that area by severing the link. The Acadian Ambulance headquarters is in that area not far from Cameron. I can't think of anything else in the area that absolutely must have that link.

Bonus: If Mudd Avenue is no longer a thru-artery, it can be reconfigured into a neighborhood road. Give it a bike lane in each direction and reduce it to two lanes with a center turning lane.

Fixing Simcoe Street to transition into the Second-Third couplet and carrying US 90 over that to Congress Street and then University Avenue to Cameron Street? That would be a plan.

Aren't we as a nation moving away from routing US highways through the heart of cities? There's almost no navigation value to having US 90 routed through the heart of Lafayette. The only benefit the current routing provides is ensuring that all of Evangeline Thruway is a US route. Building the Connector will obviate that. Even before that, we could make the Thruway Business I-49. Or reroute US 90 onto I-10 somewhere west of I-49 and put US 90 on the Thruway at I-49.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on May 17, 2016, 06:28:15 PM
Routing I-49 on the East side of Lafayette might not be very cheap or easy to build. Some of that land is swamp land or wetlands. Environmentalists might not be happy at all with a super highway going through that area.
As I said earlier, I think that's why the Sierra Club and their ilk want that route. If we abandon the Connector for Teche Ridge, they'll sue to stop it. They want to kill the project altogether and force Lafayette into a "new urban" plan.

In this May 11 Letter to the Editor (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/11/schoeffler--49-connector-meetings-have-violated-louisiana-law/84233932/), Harold Schoeffler, member of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Connector Community Working Group representing the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club, expresses his displeasure with the community involvement process so far and possibly confirms jbnv's suspicion by opining that "perhaps a 16th option should be an option where the project is not built":

Quote
... DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson has stated that there has been public input. He obviously didn’t attend the meetings that I attended.
The first meetings were filled with a DOTD agenda where the committee members had no time for input. At one meeting where I spoke out, the chairman shut me down. This process so far has been in violation of the Louisiana Open Meetings law ....
With 14 options (and now 15) at present, we are being asked to select the least offensive one to the community. Perhaps a 16th option should be an option where the project is not built.
In conclusion, DOTD has violated the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meeting Law and the right to free speech.  These are violations of the public trust.



Buckle up, folks...the ride just got a bit more bumpy.

Yep.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 18, 2016, 01:22:56 AM
It should be noted that Harold Schoeffler was one of the original plaintiffs of the 2003 lawsuit from the Concerned Citizens group that attempted to block the original I-49 Connector Record of Decision on the grounds that the selected corridor violated environmental laws and that his beloved Teche Ridge Bypass wasn't selected. He lost that round badly, it should be noted.


Open Meetings Laws violations?? Really?? Just because his alternative that would have killed the Connector from the beginning was (correctly) rejected as being beyond the scope of the process?


No time for input?? When there were already scores of meetings where not only the public but CWG members got to input ideas and thoughts? And, in response, additional alternative concepts were added??


And of course, they want a "No Build" option....that was the goal from the beginning of them infiltrating the process: to kill this project and force Teche Ridge on DOTD and FHWA.


I guess we'll just have to see another lawsuit. Bring it, fools.




[UPDATE] Just vented my spleen in the comments section attached to Mr. Schoeffler's LTTE (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2016/05/11/schoeffler--49-connector-meetings-have-violated-louisiana-law/84233932/). Click on the "Comments" icon on the left sidebar.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on May 18, 2016, 07:54:18 AM
Schoeffler and his family previously owned a Cadillac dealership in Lafayette. (Oh the irony.) I wonder what they are doing with their money these days. Perhaps buying land in western St. Martin Parish? ...

Speculation aside, we're talking about someone with roots in the Lafayette business scene. We can safely assume that there are quite a few people looking to profit from the Connector or its demise.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Grzrd on May 18, 2016, 01:10:32 PM
To Anthony, jbnv, and other Forum denizens/ interested persons of the I-49 South corridor: belated Happy I-49 South Day!  :cheers: (http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/2016/05/17/-49-south-coalition-takes-case-capitol/84484236/):

Quote
The I-49 South Coalition traveled to the Capitol here Tuesday for its quarterly meeting, where members were joined by Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson in conjunction with National Infrastructure Week and a proclamation from Gov. John Bel Edwards declaring it "I-49 South Day."

I trust everyone has a clear head today.  Mardi What?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: The Ghostbuster on May 18, 2016, 03:27:13 PM
Now if they could just complete the entire I-49 South corridor. Then we'll be in business.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 19, 2016, 09:50:33 AM
To Anthony, jbnv, and other Forum denizens/ interested persons of the I-49 South corridor: belated Happy I-49 South Day!  :cheers: (http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/2016/05/17/-49-south-coalition-takes-case-capitol/84484236/):

Quote
The I-49 South Coalition traveled to the Capitol here Tuesday for its quarterly meeting, where members were joined by Louisiana Secretary of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson in conjunction with National Infrastructure Week and a proclamation from Gov. John Bel Edwards declaring it "I-49 South Day."

I trust everyone has a clear head today.  Mardi What?


Gov John Bel is a cool blast of fresh air compared to Piyush Jindal...but he really needs to hold off on the declarations until he secures funding for I-49 South, and guarantees its ultimate construction.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 21, 2016, 01:26:20 PM
Another week and more updates:


The Connector designers just announced last week that they have added five new concept alternatives to the already long list of 14 alternative concepts for the I-49 Lafayette Connector freeway. Illustrations follow.


(http://i66.tinypic.com/10px8v4.jpg)
Concept 4E - Two-Way Evangeline Thruway Connectivity with Johnston Street RR Grade Separation


This is essentially Concept 4C but with the Johnston Street railroad underpass added.




(http://i65.tinypic.com/13yed20.jpg)
Concept 4F - Evangeline Parkway with Johnston Street RR Grade Separation


Essentially Concept 4D with the Johnston St. underpass added.




The other additions are variations of the newly developed Concept 6, which would partially depress and cap the Connector freeway while using earthern berns to connect the two sides over the I-49 mainline freeway.




(http://i66.tinypic.com/2rw16og.jpg)
Concept 6C - Depressed Capped I-49 Mainline with Relocated/Adjusted Johnston Street-Louisiana Avenue Connection To Evangeline Thruway


This would shift Johnston Street's railroad overpass and its connections with Evangeline Thruway and Louisiana Avenue a bit northward to relieve the harsh curve. Sixth St and Jefferson St. would be severed. Also, the previous overpass of the Thruway and mainline I-49 at Mudd Avenue would be eliminated; and Mudd Avenue would be severed but connected to the Thruway couplet. The ramp connections from/to north I-49 to the Thruway Simcoe Street would be eliminated, too; access would be shifted the Willow Street interchange further north.




(http://i63.tinypic.com/2cerbwk.jpg)
Concept 6D - Depressed Capped I-49 Mainline with Severed Mudd Avenue Connection


This is essentially Concept 6A, but with the Mudd Avenue overpass eliminated. Also, the Sixth Street/Lee Avenue overcrossing would be redefined as a pedestrian/bicycle-friendly path across the freeway/railroad. Like 6C, the ramps at Simcoe Street would also be eliminated, and Mudd Avenue severed to end at the Thruway couplet.




(http://i66.tinypic.com/w20v9v.jpg)
Concept 6E - Depressed-Capped I-49 Mainline with Depressed Capped Relocated BNSF RR


This is probably the most radical concept offered; it would relocate and then depress the existing BNSF/UP rail line at the same level as the Connector freeway, extending the bern over both to include property on the west side of the rail line. This would allow Second and Third Streets to be grade separated above the railway for better access. The existing Amtrak station at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center would be extended to meet the relocated railroad (probably covered below grade). However, depressing and realigning the railroad would require the closing of the Taft and Simcoe Street crossings; and require the retention of the Mudd Avenue overpass of the Thruway couplet.


At the May 19th meetings (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/05/19/place-holder-i--49-community-working-group-meeting-thursday-night/84590670/) announcing the new alternatives, there was opposition from City of Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit to the depressed and tunnelled alternatives; he cited possible issues with emergency providers getting to accidents under the tunneled structures, as well as the possibility of flooding removing critical routes for emergency personnel. Most seemed to like the tweaks to Concept 4 alternatives; but there was also those who came out in opposition to the entire project as well.


Also...the Lafayette Sierra Club (led by long time Connector opponent Harold Schoeffler) announced their organization's official opposition to the entire Connector project, citing their concerns that "the public" wasn't allowed to offer alternatives to the corridor, and possible contamination of the Chicot Aquifier. They have also filed a petition stating their opposition to Governor John Bel Edwards and the DOTD and FHWA. Their "Y-49" Facebook page can be found here (https://www.facebook.com/Y49SierraClub/).


So it goes...




Also....my 1,000th post to this illustrious board. Has it been that long? Thanks for putting up with me.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 03, 2016, 10:01:28 AM
Another week of updates and more developments in the emerging soap opera called As The I-49 Lafayette Connector Turns...




Last Friday, the Evangeline Corridor Initiative (ECI) group -- the ones doing the study on integrating the Connector freeway with the surrounding neighborhoods that was funded by the DOJ TIGER Grant -- held a public meeting where they revealed their initial design concepts and visions. That study is related to, but independent from, the official Conceptual Design study now ongoing by FHWA and DOTD to refine and begin design work for the Connector freeway.


Their initial proposals have sparked a bit of a conflict with the official Connector Design Team, because the ECI essentially took two of the 19 conceptual designs already proposed and now being studied by the Design Team, and made some adjustments to them in order to fit their objectives and goals. The ECI essentially tweaked Concept 4D (the elevated freeway with Evangeline Thruway converted into an urban boulevard), and more radically refined Concept 6E (depressed and covered freeway, but eliminating the depressed and covered railroad line and shifting the freeway mainline to eliminate the need for railroad overpasses).


Some illustrations here of what the ECI team has proposed:


I-49 Connector Elevated Mainline
(http://i66.tinypic.com/35lz39f.jpg)
(http://i66.tinypic.com/ve4z11.jpg)


Mostly, this is Concept 4D, but with a flatter curve and the mainline centered on Chestnut Street between the N/B Thruway and the railroad.






I-49 Connector Depressed Covered Mainline
(http://i63.tinypic.com/vy3x4y.jpg)
(http://i68.tinypic.com/2m31vmf.jpg)


In the original Concept 6E, both the freeway mainline and the railroad was shifted east and depressed and capped, and the cover extended into downtown and the Thruway. The revision (6F???) returns the railroad to its original ROW, and shifts the mainline freeway east about 150' by flattening the curve, thusly resulting in a much less severe bern that eliminates the need for overpasses of the railroad. Notice also in the illustrations that there are options for shifting the Evangeline Thruway over the covered mainline or utilizing the urban boulevard concept (or even both).




And, here's a pretty funky concept design for Willow Street and Northgate Mall.


I-49 Connector at Willow Street Interchange
(http://i65.tinypic.com/r2lz51.jpg)




The main conflict with the official Connector Design Team was that they had already passed the deadline for their relevant committees to offer up concept alternatives for vetting, and initially LADOTD Connector design lead Toby Ricard wasn't willing to allow ECI to add their new revisions to the 19 that had already been proposed for detailed analysis. Picard had even claimed that ECI had overshot their directives in offering these revisions, saying that they were only supposed to intervene with design plans only after the Design Team had selected a final concept.


However, after some pressure from Lafayette Consolidate Government Councilman Bruce Conque, Picard blinked a bit and said yesterday in an email to the Design Team that if the entire Concept 4 and 6 series now evaluated by the Design Team Executive Committee makes it past the initial Tier 1 analysis, the ECI revisions to 4D and 6E could then be added and vetted properly in the subsequent Tier 2 and Tier 3 evaluations.


This could not have come at a better time, too, because those opposed to the very idea of the Connector freeway through Lafayette are now gathering their arms for a battle. The anti-Connector "Y-49" Facebook group now has a petition afloat with now nearly 300 signees asking DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson to abandon the project. (Fat chance on that, since Wilson is on the Executive Committee of the Connector Design Team, and has previously defended the choice of the Connector alignment.) There is now also a blog, disguised as "informational", but in reality rehashing all the old arguments against the Connector; and proponents of the Teche Ridge Bypass going through east Lafayette and St. Martin Parish have started their own Facebook page, with some editorial support from the St. Martinville local paper Teche News.


Buckle up, y'all..it's about to get real.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on June 03, 2016, 10:29:56 AM
And, here's a pretty funky concept design for Willow Street and Northgate Mall.

I-49 Connector at Willow Street Interchange
(http://i65.tinypic.com/r2lz51.jpg)

Wow. Nothing's going to say "Welcome to one of the most French parts of the United States" like driving through a structure that most non-locals will think is the Arc de Triomphe. Hopefully it would come with demolition of both Northgate Mall and the ancient shopping center on the other side of the Thruway, and complete redevelopment of both lots.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Henry on June 03, 2016, 11:09:41 AM
I think it's funny that LA is the most France-like state, what with the existence of New Orleans and the pic above, and it's in the Deep South, as opposed to bordering on the Canadian province of QC (where Montreal and Quebec City are).
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on June 03, 2016, 11:26:40 AM
I think it's funny that LA is the most France-like state, what with the existence of New Orleans and the pic above, and it's in the Deep South, as opposed to bordering on the Canadian province of QC (where Montreal and Quebec City are).

That's largely thanks to the British being intolerant jerks and expelling the Acadians from eastern Canada. If not for that, there would be no Acadiana and no Cajun people or culture.

There's also the fact that the French liked having control of that big river. (So did the Spanish, for that matter. Had history worked out a bit different, we might be speaking Spanish instead of French.)
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 15, 2016, 07:19:01 PM
Big news today from LADOTD: they announced that they and the FHWA would go ahead and prepare a Supplemental EIS for the I-49 Lafayette Connector project. This reflects the reaction to public feedback on the elevated freeway option that was approved in the 2003 Record of Decision, combined with the ongoing LADOTD/FHWA Conceptual Design Study and the Lafayette Consolidated Government-led Evangeline Corridor Initiative studies.

Based on the timing, the SEIS would be concluded with a revised Record of Decision around Spring of 2018, which would give LADOTD and FHWA, with assistance from LCG, enough time to do a complete assessment of newer alternatives that were proposed in the Conceptual Design Study; as well as some proposals coming out of the ECI study process. In particular, an SEIS will allow the addition of a recent proposal from ECI that would replace the elevated freeway option with a partially depressed/tunneled mainline through the central core area.

The ECI proposal would shift the centerline of the mainline in the downtown area east approximately 150 feet from the proposed concepts initiated by DOTD, effectively centering the mainline on Chestnut Street midway between the southbound Evangeline Thruway roadway and the BNSF/UP railroad. This would allow a less severe slope for the covering of the mainline, and eliminate the need for any overpasses of the railroad.


It should be noted that this SEIS would only cover the Connector alternative ROW, and would not allow consideration of any alternative corridors such as the Teche Ridge Bypass or any other bypass alternatives.

I would think that this wouldn't necessarily affect the ongoing Conceptual Design or the ECI studies.

The announcement is now posted at the DOTD official website here (http://wwwapps.dotd.la.gov/administration/announcements/Announcement.aspx?key=11105).


UPDATE: The Lafayette Advertiser now has updated its article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/06/15/dotd-agrees-prepare-second-supplemental-enviromental-impact-state--49-connector/85929628/) on the SEIS announcement with reaction comments from one of the Connector's most ardent opponents, Lafayette Sierra Club spokesman Harold Schoeffler:


Quote
The department said it is assessing the the study completed in 2003 with a Record of Decision to created a supplemental document that will "be appropriate for assessing or documenting possible changes within the approved alignment.

But the new document will be done "in lieu" of a re-evaluation, or entirely new study, which is what opponents of the connector, particularity the Acadian Group of the Sierra Cub, have been calling for.

"This announcement makes it look like they are doing something for their money," said Harold Schoeffler, chairman of the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club. "A supplemental EIS? Well, that’s a Band-Aid on a problem. So much has changed with this issue over time."

The most significant change, Schoeffler said, comes from 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' 2009 settlement, which determined that sites owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad are contaminated.

"It says that the path of this project is in a highly contaminated industrial rail site. When that decision was made by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, this project should have been stopped," he said. “Supplemental is kind of visiting the original and touching on upgrades. There’s nothing in this current study or evaluating contamination of rail sites."

What Schoeffler is arguing is pure BS. The 2009 decision only stated that the former railyard sites are contaminated and subject to cleanup under LA Department of Environmental Quality and EPA rules; and the mandate of the Record of Decision already requires a full cleanup of any site affected by the encroachment of freeway ROW. A shift to a partially depressed/covered freeway would most definitely ensure a full cleanup of the site; and would guarantee maximum effort to not encroach upon the Chicot Aquifier, which serves as the main source of Lafayette's drinking water.

His only real gripe with the SEIS is that it doesn't include his beloved Teche Ridge Bypass. Too. Damn. Bad.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 17, 2016, 08:41:30 AM

Update #2 on the last post:


Today's Lafayette Advertiser has a lead article (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/06/16/groups-odds-over-dotds-plan-look--49-impact-study/85978790/) confirming that the Evangeline Corridor Initiative's alterations to the Connector freeway design -- including their tunneled design -- will be incorporated into the new Supplemental EIS now planned for the project.


Quote
The state Department of Transportation and Development has agreed to evaluate community input collected from the Evangeline Corridor Initiative Design Charrette as it drafts an updated environmental impact study document.

Toby Picard, DOTD project manager, confirmed the department’s plans in an email Thursday to Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Bruce Conque.

“LCG has transmitted the work of the Evangeline Corridor Initiative Design Charrette to the DOTD/Lafayette Connector Partners Team,” Picard said. “We realize and acknowledge that there is interest within parts of the community to further explore the potential revisions that resulted from that work.”

Picard added that the team will be investigating the feasibility of those ideas as it works through the supplementary impact study and as its continues the connector’s refinement process.

Naturally, as I previously reported, opponents of the Connector who would prefer the Teche Ridge Bypass through eastern Lafayette and St. Martin Parish aren't too happy with this development.

Quote
But supplementary EIS is under criticism by the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club because it is not a new study and it not taking into the account contaminated sites along the connector’s proposed route, the organization said.

A 2009 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision determined that sites owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad are contaminated with several hazardous chemicals.

"This should be done in a new environmental impact study," said Harold Schoeffler, chairman of the Acadian Group of the Sierra Club. "Because that would bring in the issue of an alternative, bypassing this contamination."

OTOH, it looks like the supporters of the project are finally getting tired of the nonsense, and are rallying forward.

Quote
Thursday morning, One Acadiana CEO and President Jason El Koubi issued a statement encouraging Interstate 49 connector supporters to “speak up loudly and frequently" against further project delays.

He said a majority of Lafayette Parish voters support the 5.5-mile connector through the city and the completion of the I-49 corridor from Lafayette to New Orleans.

Without addressing specific organizations, El Koubi criticized those opposing the project.

“Are we going to let a small but vocal group kill this project, as they are currently petitioning?” El Koubi said.  “That would be a devastating blow to the future of our community and region: worsening traffic congestion, cutting off economic opportunities, neglecting health and safety concerns, and rejecting a historic opportunity to revitalize and reconnect the heart of Lafayette.  Let's be clear: No change is no option.”

Battle lines are now being drawn.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 22, 2016, 11:31:50 AM
For the benefit of those whom are following this thread, I've went ahead and tweaked it a bit to correct some syntax errors and update information.


I have to say, my original opinion has now changed a bit on my preferred design for the Connector. My original endorsement was for the plan approved in the 2003 ROD or Concept 3C or 3D (the Second/Third/Johnston split interchange), because it would provide direct connections to the mainline.


But, the more I see of the Evangeline Corridor Initiative's proposed designs (especially the Partially Depressed and Covered Mainline proposal), the more I am liking, if not loving, it. If they can resolve the issue of connecting Mudd Avenue to the Evangeline Thruway/frontage road system, and if the hydraulics allow for depressing the freeway and allowing free passage over it, then we have a winner here. And if not, I can actually live with the Elevated Signature Bridge design as a fallback.


This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgoSxUCEGXI) (from Acadiana Open Channel, via YouTube) of the Design Charette presentation of the ECI's concepts by Team Leader Steve Oubre is what turned me around to his proposals. (The introductory speaker is Lafayette Consolidated Government President Joel Robicheaux; he was sporting ULL colors because their men's baseball team was hosting the NCAA Super Regionals baseball tournament. Unfortunately, they got swept in the finals by Arizona.)






It's a long video, but if you want to understand how ECI got to their proposals, it's a must view.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on June 29, 2016, 10:14:01 AM
The FHWA has now posted at the Federal Register the official Notice of Intent (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/06/21/2016-14583/environmental-impact-statement-lafayette-parish-louisiana) for the I-49 Lafayette Connector Supplemental EIS:


Quote
The FHWA, in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and the Lafayette Consolidated Government, will prepare a supplement to the final environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposal to upgrade route U.S. 90/U.S. 167 in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. The original EIS for the improvements (FHWA-LA-EIS-00-01-F) was approved on January 8, 2003. The proposed improvements to U.S. 90/U.S. 167 provide a six-lane fully controlled access freeway from just south of the Lafayette Regional Airport north to the southern terminus of Interstate 49 at the Interstate 10/Interstate 49 Interchange, generally along the existing U.S. 90/U.S. 167 corridor (Evangeline Thruway) with a portion on new alignment, in urban Lafayette, for a distance of approximately 5.5 miles. Improvements to the corridor are considered necessary to provide for existing and projected traffic demand and system linkage.


A Reevaluation of the 2003 Record of Decision (ROD) had recently been initiated and was anticipated to include follow-up to the 21 Commitments in the ROD. In consideration of input from the community, various refinements to the approved alternative are being evaluated. Preparation of a supplement to the EIS has been determined to be the appropriate documentation of the potential refinements.


Considerations include (1) constructing the approved alternative as described in the ROD and (2) incorporation of refinements to the approved alternative. Updated information on the effects of the approved alternative will be incorporated into and studied with any refinements.


Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments will be sent to appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies and will be posted on the project Web site for public comment. Public involvement activities have been on-going, including two public meetings recently held. Additional public involvement activities, including a public meeting, will be held in Lafayette between June 2016 and the conclusion of this study. In addition, a public hearing will be held. Public notice will be given of the time and place of the meeting and hearing. The draft supplemental EIS will be available for public and agency review and comment prior to the public hearing. No formal scoping meeting will be held.


To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed action are addressed and all significant issues identified, comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Comments or questions concerning this proposed action and the EIS should be directed to the FHWA at the address provided above. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Research, Planning, and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.)




Basically, they have set the NOI so that only alterations to the approved ROD will be considered, which squleches any attempt by opponents to bring any bypasses like Teche Ridge into the mix. Also, this officially allows the Evangeline Corridor Initiative refinements (including the Partially Depressed and Covered Mainline and Elevated Mainline with Signature Bridge alternative designs they proposed) to get a full vetting. The existing Concept Refinement and Context Sensitive Solutions processes will be integrated into the SEIS, along with public meetings and a official Pubic Hearing when the Draft SEIS is published.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 05, 2016, 08:52:26 PM
Some major new developments today on the I-49 Connector front.


First off, LADOTD on Wednesday held an Open House Public Meeting for the public, mostly to explain the newly refined Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process and how it would affect the ongoing Conceptual Design study.


Most importantly, though, earlier today, the Corridor's Executive Committee approved the requests of the Community Workgroup and Technical Advisory committees to whittle down the original 19 design concepts modifications to 11 utilizing two basic concepts; both of which differ from the design that was approved in the 2003 Record of Decision.


The original concept would have been a discontinuous elevated freeway near the core downtown area, with two standalone interchanges at Johnston Street and a merged Second Street/Third Street couplet.


(http://i67.tinypic.com/f0rprq.jpg)
Original 2003 FEIS/ROD Approved Design


The concepts that were advanced, however, would eliminate both interchanges in exchange for using the existing Evangeline Thruway as the collector and distributor for traffic between the freeway and downtown, with connecting slip ramps north of Mudd Avenue and south of Taft Street/Fourteenth Street providing access to and from I-49.


Concept #4 would provide a continuous elevated freeway with a "signature bridge" concept elevated as high as 40 feet above ground level at its highest point. Under that proposal, the Evangeline Thruway could remain as a couplet, or the southbound roadway would be converted to a 4- to 6-lane urban boulevard to handle the transitory traffic between the freeway and surrounding neighborhoods (the northbound Thruway roadway would be downgraded to a two-way local street and returned to the original grid prior to the Thruway being built).


(http://i66.tinypic.com/2njd1m9.jpg)
Concept 4B - Evangeline Thruway Remaining As One-Way Couplet


(http://i63.tinypic.com/213k9dz.jpg)
Concept 4F - Evangeline Parkway 


The other concept that advanced is Concept #6, where the freeway is not elevated, but partially depressed 10 feet below ground level and then covered like a tunnel, with earth berms sloped at 5 percent grade allowing cross streets to pass over the freeway. The original designs for Concept 6 would have required costly overpasses of the adjuncting BNSF/UP rail line, or, in one option, realigning and depressing the rail line at the same grade as the freeway.


(http://i67.tinypic.com/2vayy5c.jpg)
Concept 6B - Partially Depressed/Capped I-49 w/ Cross-Street Overpasses of BNSF RR


(http://i63.tinypic.com/w2kr9e.jpg)
Concept 6E - Partially Depressed/Capped I-49 w/ Realigned/Depressed BNSF RR


Those particular concepts probably won't make it, but the advancement of Concept #6 to the Tier II process will allow for consideration of a revision of 6E proposed by the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team's Evangeline Corridor Initiative (http://www.evangelinecorridor.com), which would remove the railroad realignment proposed in 6E, but shift the freeway mainline enough to the east in the downtown area so that the mainline is between the railroad and the southbound Thruway. With 680 feet of room, a 150' ROW for the freeway mainline, and 200' either side of 5% sloping, this would allow the cross streets to safely pass over the mainline with enough clearance to keep the existing at-grade railroad crossings.


(http://i63.tinypic.com/vy3x4y.jpg)
Evangeline Corridor Initiative -- Proposed Partially Depressed/Covered I-49 (Thruway Flanking/Over Mainline)

That proposal has the Thruway shifted directly over and/or flanking the mainline freeway as an "urban avenue" and both streets of the former Thruway couplet reverted back to local two-way streets. There is an option for converting the S/B Thruway to a boulevard as well.


The ECI also has their own proposal for the Elevated Mainline/Signature Bridge option, generally based on Concept 4D.


(http://i66.tinypic.com/35lz39f.jpg)
Evangeline Corridor Initiative -- Proposed Elevated Mainline w/ Signature Bridge (Evangeline Thruway as Boulevard)


The new timetable has the Connector Study Team now providing more complete and detailed analyses, as well as technical studies, to the newly advanced concepts #4 and #6, with those options whittled down to a final select group by October, and a final selection by the end of this year.


The remaining CSS and neighborhood connectivity studies associated with the ECI study will now advance as planned, too.


Relevant articles: Lafayette Advertiser (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/08/05/interstate-49-lafayette-concepts-narrowed-4-6-series/88297350/), Acadiana Advocate (http://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/article_c6f0f14c-5b3a-11e6-abde-5f475bdc774c.html)

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 18, 2016, 06:58:56 PM
I'm cross posting this from its original post so it can get an adequate response.



This was an article I found about I 49 do you guys think this will  end this debate.
August 14, 2016) The picture shows why building the I-49 Lafayette Connector below grade is generally a bad idea. The only thing that prevents the Evangeline Thruway from being submerged is the high level roadbed. Any section below grade is risky because mother nature can overcome anything engineered by mankind. At minimum, I-49 needs an overpass at Pinhook to seal off the subsurface segment from the river. If you don't like the idea of a continuous elevated viaduct, the problem could be solved with three simple interchanges and most of I-49 at ground level: one overpass at er Pinhook, run Johnston St over the railroad tracks and I-49 using an overpass a single point interchange above the I-49 connector, then finally run I-49 over a longer overpass from Jefferson to Mudd Ave, back to ground level, then overpasses at the next railroad track, and Willow St. However, my guess is the flood will be enough evidence in favor of an elevated viaduct and against the below grade road in the supplemental environmental study.


Ummm....no. Not quite so true.


Except for the section where the current Evangeline Thruway/US 90 dips to cross the Vermillion River, most of the Connector ROW is well above median sea level, and very much above the 100 year flood level of the Vermilion River. Not even in the case of the current flooding taking place did the Vermillion overtake the Thruway bridge, although, of course, Vermillionville and the adjacent parks were certainly flooded out. With the exception of the basin around the Vermillion River, most of Lafayette proper averages around 35 feet above median sea level. The 100-year flood level of the Vermillion is around 17.5 feet; the Evangeline Thruway bridge is about 20 feet. Even considering a 10 foot drop below ground level as what the Partially Depressed/Covered alternative proposes, that would still leave nearly 10-15' of leeway before even the 100-yr flood level would be reached. Gravity drainage flow combined with minor upgrades of the existing drainage system along the existing Thruway could handle much of the runoff; and even if the Vermillion was to reverse its flow as it sometimes does during excessive rainfall events, the wetland area to the south and east of Lafayette serves as a safety valve for runoff.


In addition, since the proposal calls for a partially submerged tunneled mainline rather than an open trench, with berns over the mainline to carry cross streets over the freeway, runoff from heavy rains would not flow into the tunnel structure; but would rather either be absorbed by the greenspace or run into the existing drainage system.


Some of the proposed design modifications would include raising the frontage road and mainline structures at the Vermillion River crossing, both to further connectivity of the park space adjacent to the river and to further protection from backflow flooding into the mainline structure.


It should also be noted that the depressed structure would transition into an elevated structure north of Mudd Avenue towards Willow Street. Detention ponds can be built around the Willow Street interchange to handle excessive runoff there.



Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 18, 2016, 07:10:18 PM
One of the other advantages of the Partially Depressed/Covered option is that the Evangeline Thruway can be shifted to be placed directly above or immediately flanking the freeway mainline, with the current roadways converted back to local streets serving the local neighborhood grid. This would also help promote both effective evacuation and escape in the event of a flood event. Of course, the Elevated option would serve that purpose well, but with the Thruway at its current level or converted to a boulevard.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 23, 2016, 07:58:32 PM
I found the image that Gordon was referencing, but forgot to link. It is originally from a collage of aerial photos (http://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/multimedia/photos/collection_cea78092-6330-11e6-b699-3f1d18e88579.html#1) of the flooding in Lafayette posted by the Lafayette Advertiser; that photo was then posted to the "Future I-49" Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Future-I-49-112029835534714/?fref=ts).


(http://i64.tinypic.com/1dzy9.jpg)


At that moment, the Vermilion River was at its highest peak of 18.1 feet (measured a bit upstream at the gauge at Surrey Street); roughly 3 feet above the original "100 year flood" benchmark of 15.7 feet. As you can see, much of Beaver Park and Vermilionville was inudated by the overflow of the Vermilion. However, because the Evangeline Thruway/US 90 bridge and the University Avenue and Surrey Street roadways were set at a higher level (the bridge was placed at 20 feet above mean surface level, nearly 5 feet above the previous 100 yr. flood benchmark, they all remained high and dry above the madness. (You can see the traffic still moving along the Thruway and cross streets.)


The relevance to the proposed Connector freeway and Gordon's comments that this rules out the Partially Depressed/Covered option desired by many? Well, that option applies mostly to the area north of this area, between roughly Pinhook Road and Mudd Avenue, where the ground level height would be a bit higher than where the Thruway/proposed Connector crosses the Vermilion. The Thruway ground level actually rises drastically to the north to a general height of 35 feet above median ground level near Pinhook Road. The proposed PD/C option would only lower the freeway 10 feet below ground level in the central area; allowing for a 10-15 foot clearance above ground level where berms would allow for cross traffic to pass over the tunneled/partially submerged freeway. Also, at the area where the Connector freeway would use the existing mainline Thruway to cross the Vermilion River, adjacent frontage roads would be built to take over the task of local access and connections to University/Surrey and accessing Beaver Park. A profile view of the proposed Connector freeway at that location under the original approved 2003 Final EIS/ROD is here (original located at the Project Library "Historical Documents" section at the official LADOTD Lafayette Connector website (http://lafayetteconnector.com/project-library/#1442589560353-2c3e272d-2f82)):


(http://i65.tinypic.com/s2781l.jpg)






The proposed mainline overpass over/interchange with University/Surrey is contingent on how LADOTD/FHWA and the FAA resolve the issue of protecting the flight path of Runway 11-29 at Lafayette Regional Airport, which cuts right through the Evangeline Thruway/Connector freeway ROW. Original plans of displacing the flight path by extending Runway 11-29 at its opposite end into the Cypress Swamp area are now under review, and alterations to the University/Surrey interchange to avoid displacement are now being considered under the Supplemental EIS process.


I can agree with Gordon's idea that the Elevated Option would probably be more suitable for negotiating through an extreme flooding event, and that probably LADOTD and FHWA are already slanted toward that option as the most feasible; and this recent disaster will probably tip them in that direction anyway, since that was the very reason they rejected depressed freeway options in the past.  However, I don't think that the Partially Depressed/Covered option should be totally eliminated from consideration just because of this event, because there is still a lot of advantages and benefits from depressing the freeway in the downtown core while still considering raising it a bit in the Beaver Park/Vermilionville area to protect against the next "1000 year flood" event. But, we shall see as the studies move on.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 23, 2016, 08:09:21 PM

Incidentally....if you want a fun thing to do during your idle time...


I've been doing a bit of trolling on this webpage (https://connectorcomments.blogspot.com/) created by an opponent of the Connector who is pushing some pretty wack arguments against the freeway through Lafayette and pushing for a bypass (mostly the east Teche Ridge bypass, but there is also an argument for the Lafayette Regional eXpressway bypass around the western and southern perimeter of Lafayette). I've thus far managed to attach comments to nearly all of the posts over there; if you want to, feel free to go there and read both the arguments and my responses to them.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on October 17, 2016, 08:09:36 AM
Just wanted to let you good folks here know that I have created my own blog in order to defend the Connector against the inflamed rhetoric of some of its detractors. It's a bit spartan, but it does the job well enough for me.

http://backi49lafayetteconnector.blogspot.com (http://backi49lafayetteconnector.blogspot.com)

I just finished a post debunking the supposed impacts of the Connector freeway on Lafayette Regional Airport.

http://backi49lafayetteconnector.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-i-49-lafayette-connector-and.html (http://backi49lafayetteconnector.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-i-49-lafayette-connector-and.html)

Much more, of course, is forthcoming.



UPDATE: That site now also exists as a standalone WordPress site as well:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: robbones on November 04, 2016, 04:37:12 PM
This is a link coming from the Build I 49 Facebook page.

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/11/03/some--interstate-49-design-options-eliminated/93181276/

LG-H634

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on November 07, 2016, 10:53:59 AM
Just finished a MONSTER post over at my new pro-Connector site on the latest update on the Tier II selection process for the Conceptual Study and Supplemental EIS now ongoing.

http://backi49lafayetteconnector.blogspot.com/2016/11/i-49-lafayette-connector-update-tier-2.html

The TL; DR version for you all:

1) It appears that the "Cut-and-Cover" option for burying the Connector freeway through near downtown Lafayette won't happen; the Tier 2 results found it to be too expensive, with too many displacements and serious issues with operating and maintaining the tunnel, especially during emergency incidents and hurricane evacuation. Also, the tunnel would be inaccessible for Haz-Mat permitted vehicles. The total cost for the 1.5 mile section including the tunnel was estimated to be near $818 million; as compared to $565 million for the Partially Depressed Open Trench option.

2) All signs are now pointing to the Elevated option with the Evangeline Thruway converted to an urban boulevard becoming the favored alternative. It actually scored less expensive and less disruptive than even the alternative approved in the 2003 Record of Decision ($426 million for the 1.5 mile downtown core section as compared to $577 million for the original alternative).

3) LADOTD is now in the process of developing "hybrid" alternative proposals for the entire 5.5 mile length of the Connector freeway; including the possibility of incorporating some ideas put forth by the Evangeline Corridor Initiative. Those proposals are scheduled to be announced by mid-December at a public meeting.

Some relevant articles (via the Lafayette Advertiser):

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/11/03/some--interstate-49-design-options-eliminated/93181276/ (already mentioned)

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/10/27/cost-15-mile--49-core-355-668-million/92832942/ (with cost estimates of all the remaining options)


Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Alex on November 09, 2016, 09:40:36 AM
So the Geaux South (I-49 South) Program web page (http://www.geauxsouth49.com/) is no longer online? Is LADOTD shifting project documents elsewhere, or did they simply forget to renew the domain with GoDaddy?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on November 09, 2016, 09:55:04 PM
That site has been offline since this spring. More than likely, a victim of the transition from Bobby Jindal to John Bel Edwards. (Or, from Sheryl LeBas to Shawn Wilson as DOTD Secretary.)
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 13, 2016, 03:07:29 PM
An update, if you will.


LADOTD had their second Open House Public Meeting last November 30th, where they updated the public on the current status of the Conceptual Design, CSS, and Supplemental EIS studies now ongoing.


They have now reduced the options for the Connector freeway down to 4 conceptual design alternatives in the core area near downtown; two utilizing a continuous elevated freeway, one with a partially depressed freeway with an open trench, and one with a partially depressed and covered (aka "cut-and-cover") freeway.


I have created a post over at my I-49 Connector blog detailing the four alternatives, but for here I will simply illustrate them:


Original Base Case: 2003 Final EIS/ROD Approved Alternative


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2B1A-2B-2BFEIS-ROD-2BSelected-2BAlternative-2B-25282003-2529.png)


This was the alternative that was originally approved in 2003; it is included in this study only as an control for comparison purposes.




1) Concept 4-1 -- Elevated Freeway with Evangeline Thruway Couplet


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2B4-1-2BElevated-2Bwith-2BEvangeline-2BThwy-2BCouplet.png)


In this concept, I-49 would be fully elevated throughout the downtown area, with ramp connections to the Evangeline Thruway allowing for indirect access to all the major cross streets serving downtown. Notice how the Evangeline Thruway is realigned near the Sterling Grove Historical District to move both the freeway and the northbound Thruway frontage road away from St. Genevieve Catholic Church and Sterling Grove. Also, Simcoe Street directly flanking the church is severed and diverted through the Second/Third couplet and a combination of Chestnut Street and Dudley Avenue. Mudd Avenue is allowed full connection with the Thruway frontage road system to/from the west, but is severed from there to the east, with the old northbound Thruway from Simcoe Street to Bellot Drive redesigned as a two-way local street.




2) Concept 4-2 -- Elevated Freeway with Evangeline Thruway as "Urban Boulevard"


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2B4-2-2BElevated-2Bwith-2BEvangeline-2BThwy-2BAs-2BBoulevard.png)


This is essentially Concept 4-1 but with the southbound Evangeline Thruway converted into a 4- to 6- lane "urban boulevard" for development purposes. The existing northbound Thruway would be converted into a two-way local street.




3) Concept 6-1 -- Partially Depressed Open Trench


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2B6-1-2BSemi-Depressed-2BOpen-2BTrench.png)


Under this concept, the Connector freeway would be depressed 10 feet below surface level from north of Mudd Avenue to Pinhook Road, with major cross streets bridged at least 10 to 15 feet over the freeway. Due to the proximity of the BNSF rail line, Johnston Street would have to be elevated over both the freeway and the railroad, causing it to require elevated structures extending westward as far as Vermillion Street. This would cause penetration of the Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood, which was recently designated an Historical District. Notice also how the southbound frontage road has to be altered to cross over the freeway, and how Taft Street has to be realigned to connect with Thirteenth Street rather than its current connection with Fourteenth Street. The remaining cross streets downtown (Second, Third, Jefferson, and Sixth) do get to retain their at-grade crossings with the railroad, but with very steep gradients between the freeway overpasses and the rail crossings. Also, note that due to the need to cross over the freeway, Mudd Avenue is completely severed across the freeway, unlike the Elevated options.




4) Concept 6-2 -- Partially Depressed Cut-and-Cover

(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2B6-2-2BSemi-Depressed-2BCut-and-Cover-2B-2528Surface-2BTunnel-2529.png)




This is similar to Concept 6-1, but with the addition of an embankment completely covering the depressed mainline, allowing cross streets and potential business development over or immediately flanking the freeway. The cover would take in the area from Second Street to Taft Street, and the embankment would take the entire ROW of the existing Evangeline Thruway, requiring the maximum of displacements. There would also be issues involving operation and maintenance costs of the tunnel, as well as concerns about permitted Hazardous Materials loads not being able to use the tunnel.


DOTD also published a matrix listing both preliminary findings of ROW and displacements required and the initial costs for the downtown core area.


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2BComparison-2B-2BDisplacements-2B-2526-2BROW.png)




(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/11/Concept-2BComparison-2B-2BEstimated-2BCosts.png)


As you can plainly see, the Cut-and-Cover option would be prohibitively expensive, costing up to double the costs of the elevated options. The Open Trench option is in between.


The plans for the studies are to construct full hybrid end-to-end conceptual alternatives for presentation to the public and the CSS committees next month (January 2017); followed by more detailed Tier III analysis and major agency feedback; and then 3 finalist concept alternatives selected later in the spring of 2017 to be vetted through the Draft Supplemental EIS document and CSS Design Study. After that, a Public Hearing will be held, and the Lafayette Consolidated Government will select a final alternative for implementation of the CSS design.


Meanwhile, opponents of the Connector are already rearming themselves for a new battle; this letter from Connector opponent Dennis Sullivan posted during the November 30th Public Meeting by opponent Roger Peak over at the Sierra Club's anti-Connector "Y-49" Facebook page encapsulates all the arguments opponents of the freeway are offering.


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/12/I-49-Connector-Opposition-Public-Letter2.png)


I'm already preparing a rebuttal to Mr. Sullivan's nonsense, which will be posted to the Connector blog soon.


In the meantime, I've posted some of the Connector Open House Public Meeting documents (accessible via Scirbd) over at the blog. Please feel free to go there and view them; or view the originals at the Lafayette Connector website.


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2016/12/10/nov2016update-openhousemeetingdocs-ecifinalcharrettereport/



Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on December 14, 2016, 02:09:09 PM
Did he really write that whole letter in Comic Sans?  :pan:
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 15, 2016, 02:16:16 AM
Did he really write that whole letter in Comic Sans?  :pan:

Maybe Wingdings wasn't available at the time??

This letter is exactly the type of nonsense that anti-freeway opponents are prone to say, and it's proven BS.

"Make the Thruway for everyone, not just for cars??" Really? Does he know that over 60,000 vehicles use the Thruway today, and that will rise to nearly 90K by 2034?? Since only around 10 percent of that traffic uses the Thruway to get through (rather than travel to and from) Lafayette, that means that even if Teche Ridge Bypass was built, you'd still have nearly 70K to 80K VPD on the Thruway. Try putting sidewalks and bike lanes on that, then mix in traffic lights.

The mentality that transportation should be reduced to the lowest common denominator for small neighborhoods at the expense of everyone else needs to be challenged and rebutted. Lafayette is NOT Breaux Bridge or Opelousas or Port Barre. It needs basic essential thouroghfares for people to travel on.


UPDATE: My refutation of the Y-49 folks is now online:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2016/12/15/refuting-y49-why-an-i49-loop-isnt-all-that/

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Bobby5280 on December 15, 2016, 10:50:23 AM
That clown contradicts his "Interstates need to go around the city" stance with the example he uses: Denver's modification of I-70 on the East side of the city.

CDOT is not turning I-70 into some stop-and-go urbanized boulevard. They're not going to push I-70 around the perimeter of Denver either. They're going to widen the existing Interstate and add some express lanes to it. But they are going to put I-70 into a deep trench for several blocks and cap a few blocks of it with new park land and green space. The project will cost over $1.2 billion.

Denver's I-70 East project is mired in its own controversies. Lots of anti-freeway people are trying to block the project, wanting that tax money spent on bike paths and what not (as if Denver doesn't already have lots of bike paths, bus lines, etc.). Lately there is a civil rights investigation into the project because it affects a neighborhood that is 84% Latino.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on December 15, 2016, 12:56:02 PM
That clown contradicts his "Interstates need to go around the city" stance with the example he uses: Denver's modification of I-70 on the East side of the city.

CDOT is not turning I-70 into some stop-and-go urbanized boulevard. They're not going to push I-70 around the perimeter of Denver either. They're going to widen the existing Interstate and add some express lanes to it. But they are going to put I-70 into a deep trench for several blocks and cap a few blocks of it with new park land and green space. The project will cost over $1.2 billion.

Denver's I-70 East project is mired in its own controversies. Lots of anti-freeway people are trying to block the project, wanting that tax money spent on bike paths and what not (as if Denver doesn't already have lots of bike paths, bus lines, etc.). Lately there is a civil rights investigation into the project because it affects a neighborhood that is 84% Latino.

To be fair to Mr. Sullivan, the YouTube video he links to in his otherwise idiotic letter does describe an option -- reroute I-70 over I-270 and convert existing I-70 to a boulevard -- that was considered but rejected in favor of the tunnel now being proposed in Denver. He's using that as a description of what the Evangeline Thruway could be like if I-49 was diverted through the Teche Ridge Bypass east through St. Martin Parish or west along the Lafayette Regional Expressway loop. The problem with that is that neither bypass alternative will move enough traffic from the Thruway/US 90 corridor such that an "urban boulevard" combination can feasibly work. You'd still have the Thruway choked with nearly 70-80K ADT, which is not favorable for an urban boulevard with sidewalks and bike lanes. Ironically enough, the Connector freeway would remove enough traffic from the Thruway to allow it to be converted into such an urban boulevard....and that will probably become the finally approved version.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on January 11, 2017, 03:17:44 AM
Just a small update for y'allz....


Things are heating up once again at the Connector Tier II hearings: Apparently new Connector Project Director Tim Nickel got a bit tired of having to answer questions from Lafayette locals about why some of their design recommendations were rejected out of hand, because he abruptly dismissed their December Community Work Group meeting, leaving some members in shock. This raised once again the feelings of some locals that the consultants paid by LADOTD were forcing a bare bones Elevated option on the city without any consideration for them.


This article from the Lafayette Advertiser detailed all the hijinks:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2016/12/16/questions-left-unanswered-after-heated--49-committee-meeting/95480588/


This other article from the Advertiser details the concerns of the local Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team over the latest Connector design proposals:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2016/12/14/thruway-redevelopment-team-concerned--49-plans/95404942/


This also led the Advertiser to post this editorial basically calling out LADOTD to get its act together before everything is destroyed:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/editorial/2016/12/21/editorial-failure-communicate/95667548/


To which, I've added my own opinion at my Connector blog:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2016/12/16/how-ladotd-arrogance-and-ramrodding-the-elevated-option-could-kill-the-connector-freeway-project/


Which so gripped DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson that he was moved to post this rebuttal to the official LADOTD Lafayette Connector website and to the Advertiser:


http://lafayetteconnector.com/49-far-standard-interstate/
http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2017/01/05/wilson--49-far-more-than-standard-interstate/96192384/


To which, I have just posted my own open letter in response:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/01/11/open-letter-response-to-dotd-secretary-wilson/


Also at my blog: my own personal recommendations for improving the Connector freeway; most of which involve tweaks to the ECI proposals, and a radical suggestion of elevating the BNSF railroad through downtown:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/01/06/could-the-connector-be-improved-a-few-suggestions/




Read at your convenience...but I hope you read nevertheless.





Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on March 14, 2017, 06:42:32 AM
Your monthly Connector update, for what it's worth.


It was quiet for a while, but this weekend things blew up big time when the LADOTD and the Connector planning team held a surprise meeting of their Executive Committee supervising the current Conceptual Engineering Study & Supplemental EIS work. Based on that meeting last Friday, they announced a major shake up in the Connector design process,with huge ramifications.


This article in the Lafayette Advertiser details all of the fireworks:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2017/03/10/elevated-depressed--49-decision-coming-soon/99004102/


The original process would have had at least two "hybrid" proposed designs for the Connector freeway project move on to the Tier III evaluation process, with a decision on a final design to be further vetted through the Supplemental EIS reached by mid-spring. The idea would have been that one design would feature the "Elevated" option, and the other a "Semi-Depressed" option where the freeway would be sunk 10 feet through the heart of Lafayette next to downtown.


In Friday's meeting, though, it was announced by the Executive Committee through LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson that the process would now be accelerated so that only one design would be selected by the end of March and then vetted through the Tier III and SEIS process. Considering the remarks and conclusions that LADOTD and the Connector consulting team had previously announced publicly, this all but clinches that the Elevated Option will be selected and the Semi-Depressed option dismissed as to expensive and disruptive.


It was also announced that there would no longer be a public meeting in March to present the Tier III alternatives, but that public input and consultation with the Lafayette Consolidated Government would be put on hold until the final design alternative was selected, after the Tier III vetting and before the draft SEIS was published. An official Public Hearing is mandated by federal law after the SEIS is officially published.


Apparently, Wilson and the LADOTD is concerned that any further delay in considering what they feel as an inferior Semi-Depressed option would threaten funding of the Connector freeway down the road, and that the already deferred by a year process needs to be concluded.


On the other side, there are some folks at Lafayette Consolidated Government who are getting a bit concerned and steamed up that they seem to be getting rolled by the process. The Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team (ETRT), who was empowered by the LCG to develop plans for reconnecting and improving the neighborhoods affected by the Connector freeway, had recently emailed to the Connector design team a list of issues they had concerning the process and the vetting of the Semi-Depressed option. LADOTD posted a detailed response to the ETRT concerns over at their Connector website; but apparently that didn't resolve ETRT's issues enough. Today, they made their concerns public through this Advertiser article:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2017/03/13/thruway-team--49-connector-questions-unanswered/99124754/

I've posted the LADOTD response via my Scribd account:

https://www.scribd.com/document/341838532/LADOTD-LCP-Response-To-ETRT-Concerns-Re-I-49-Connector-Project

The main problem is that there is a chance that LADOTD will claim lack of funding to push aside funding particular amenities (bikepaths, pedestrian paths, a "signature bridge" along the corridor near downtown, a gateway plaza entry from the north) wanted by LCG to relieve and mitigate the impact of the Connector footprint. There is also the issue of the Connector crossing the former Southern Pacific Railroad classification yard, a potential "brownfield" which had been found to contain hazardous waste that could potentially impact the Chicot Aquifer, which provides Lafayette's drinking water supply.


And that doesn't even include the continued opposition of folks like the Greater Lafayette Sierra Club whom are still pushing the Teche Ridge eastern bypass through St. Martin Parish (or the western toll Lafayette Regional Expressway), along with conversion of the current Evangeline Thruway to a surface boulevard, as their preferred option for I-49.


In any rate, things are about to explode here, especially when the hybrid plans are released later this month. As always, I'll keep you informed here of the developments.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on March 31, 2017, 10:24:41 PM
And now, we are down to one alternative concept for the Connector freeway.

LADOTD today officially eliminated the Partially Depressed/Covered Series 6 options from future consideration for the final phases of design analysis; leaving only the Elevated Series 4 options for advancement.

Details of the Executive Committee meeting today are here (via the Lafayette Advertiser):

Quote
Despite unanswered questions from the community, the Interstate 49 Lafayette Connector executive committee decided Friday to move ahead with only one design option.

The 1.5-mile section of I-49 between roughly Pinhook Road and the railroad tracks, abutting the city's downtown and two historic neighborhoods, will be elevated.

Carlee Alm-Labar, Lafayette Consolidated Governrment's development director, was the only hold-out for continuing to study both the elevated and a semi-depressed, semi-covered option.

She was overridden by her boss, Mayor-President Joel Robideax, and others on the executive committee, including Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and Monique Boulet, CEO of the Acadiana Planning Commission.

Robideaux, who asked few questions during Friday's meeting, said after considering how many more properties would be displaced by the semi-depressed version and hearing concerns from emergency personnel, he thinks the elevated version, called series 4, was the best option.

He, Alm-Labar and City-Parish Councilman Bruce Conque said the goal now is to work together with state highway officials and consultants to design the best elevated interstate possible.

"We'e got an opportunity in front of us to get this project done," Robideaux said. "I'm convinced that we're going to be partners in it, work through whatever financial constraints exist and come out with something that we can all be proud of."

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2017/03/31/one-i-49-connector-plan-selected/99828402/

I'm guessing that this will not go too well with many people, and that the lawsuits are already being planned....not only from advocates of the Teche Ridge bypass, but also from those hoping for a depressed freeway design to mitigate the impacts of the elevated freeway.

My own personal take, from my Connector blog:

http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/03/31/breaking-ladotd-pushes-elevated-option-for-further-study/

Things are about to get pretty turbulent, people.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 01, 2017, 09:42:05 AM
I have a bad feeling about this.

Start looking at who owns the land around the Teche Ridge corridor and how they show up in the opposition movement.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 02, 2017, 09:45:19 AM
I have a bad feeling about this.

Start looking at who owns the land around the Teche Ridge corridor and how they show up in the opposition movement.

Considering how Teche Ridge runs in the tight slot between the Bayou Teche basin and Cypress Swamp/Lake Martin, there really isn't a lot of land to develop, unless they plan on drying up the northeastern portion of Cypress Swamp. Plus, it probably wouldn't matter, because there's no way that any Teche Ridge Bypass route will attract enough traffic from the US 90/Evangeline Thruway corridor to induce any development to begin with. At best, the route would probably attract 20K to 25K ADT, which wouldn't even be enough for a two-lane arterial, let alone a 4 lane freeway.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: compdude787 on April 02, 2017, 02:42:17 PM
What?! Why would they eliminate the sunken freeway option? It's like they want this freeway to get killed. Bad, bad idea...  :thumbdown:
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Rothman on April 02, 2017, 03:36:46 PM
What?! Why would they eliminate the sunken freeway option? It's like they want this freeway to get killed. Bad, bad idea...  :thumbdown:

Probably due to sheer expense of sinking the freeway.  Economic feasibility trumps aesthetics.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 02, 2017, 05:34:38 PM
What?! Why would they eliminate the sunken freeway option? It's like they want this freeway to get killed. Bad, bad idea...  :thumbdown:

To put it simply, the Semi-Depressed option was too expensive, too disruptive, and too much of a potential flooding risk. The cost to implement the Cut-and-Cover option would be nearly twice as much ($818 million) as with the Elevated options ($420 million). LADOTD had said that they would dedicate $700 million to the construction of the Connector; an Elevated option would make it much easier to add the kind of amenities and mitigation to the final design.

In addition, the Depressed options would create a situation where Johnston Street would have to be elevated over the rail line that parallels the freeway, thusly forcing intersections west of there to be raised on structure. The neighborhood affected was recently made an Historic District (Freetown-Port Rico; not related to the existing Sterling Grove Historical District further upstream); the overpass would penetrate that district for 2-3 blocks past the railroad overpass.

Basically, it was a decent idea that didn't turn out so well, given the topography of Lafayette.

Still, some who were hoping for an alternative to the Elevated option will probably turn to the Teche Ridge Bypass as a fallback; I'm not one of them.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: compdude787 on April 02, 2017, 06:32:37 PM
Okay, that makes sense. Thing is, people are probably going to raise hell over building an elevated highway. Everyone's going to freak out about it being like a wall, which to me is like "whatever," but some people are so overly concerned about communities being cut off from one another by freeways and not so much about the benefits freeways bring, like, well... getting from place to place quicker.

I personally wouldn't mind driving on an elevated highway. I think they give you a nice view, though I don't like double-decker viaducts just because of the earthquake risk.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 02, 2017, 10:15:53 PM
Okay, that makes sense. Thing is, people are probably going to raise hell over building an elevated highway. Everyone's going to freak out about it being like a wall, which to me is like "whatever," but some people are so overly concerned about communities being cut off from one another by freeways and not so much about the benefits freeways bring, like, well... getting from place to place quicker.

Keep this in mind: We're talking about a city that is already divided roughly along the corridor. Furthermore, there isn't much reason for townspeople to go to the corridor in question other than to pass through the area. So the idea of this highway dividing the city is moot. The highway actually presents an opportunity to clean up the corridor and make it a destination.

Keep in mind also that most people in the city are already on board with I-49. The dissenters are people who live in the area and a handful of people who use the environment as an excuse to rouse rabble. The latter include some of the city's 1%, including an "environmentalist" who made his fortune selling Cadillacs.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: compdude787 on April 03, 2017, 02:08:27 AM
Okay, that makes sense. Thing is, people are probably going to raise hell over building an elevated highway. Everyone's going to freak out about it being like a wall, which to me is like "whatever," but some people are so overly concerned about communities being cut off from one another by freeways and not so much about the benefits freeways bring, like, well... getting from place to place quicker.

Keep this in mind: We're talking about a city that is already divided roughly along the corridor. Furthermore, there isn't much reason for townspeople to go to the corridor in question other than to pass through the area. So the idea of this highway dividing the city is moot. The highway actually presents an opportunity to clean up the corridor and make it a destination.

Keep in mind also that most people in the city are already on board with I-49. The dissenters are people who live in the area and a handful of people who use the environment as an excuse to rouse rabble. The latter include some of the city's 1%, including an "environmentalist" who made his fortune selling Cadillacs.

Oh, I didn't realize most people in the city already supported I-49 and that the city was already divided along this corridor. And that's funny that that one "environmentalist" sells Cadillacs! :-D What a hypocrite! Reminds me of Leo DiCaprio, who complains about climate change and then has a private jet and a yacht, or Al Gore, whose house uses as much energy as a small town.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on April 03, 2017, 12:25:56 PM
Okay, that makes sense. Thing is, people are probably going to raise hell over building an elevated highway. Everyone's going to freak out about it being like a wall, which to me is like "whatever," but some people are so overly concerned about communities being cut off from one another by freeways and not so much about the benefits freeways bring, like, well... getting from place to place quicker.

Keep this in mind: We're talking about a city that is already divided roughly along the corridor. Furthermore, there isn't much reason for townspeople to go to the corridor in question other than to pass through the area. So the idea of this highway dividing the city is moot. The highway actually presents an opportunity to clean up the corridor and make it a destination.

Keep in mind also that most people in the city are already on board with I-49. The dissenters are people who live in the area and a handful of people who use the environment as an excuse to rouse rabble. The latter include some of the city's 1%, including an "environmentalist" who made his fortune selling Cadillacs.

You can make a serious case that the surface Evangeline Thruway as a one-way couplet and expressway does more to divide Lafayette through being choked to the brim with traffic than anything else other than the railroad.

Actually, I'd disagree with jbnv on people using the Thruway to bypass Lafayette. Traffic surveys done during the past 10 or 20 years clearly show that nearly 85-90% of the traffic on the Thruway is traffic headed or coming from within the city. Less than 11% of the traffic is using the Thruway to bypass Lafayette entirely.

Also...while the Teche Ridge/Sierra Club lobby (and BTW, Harold Schoeffler is the name of the former auto dealer who's one of the leaders of the anti-Connector opposition) does have its microphone amplified, there is also some who really did want the depressed option on the grounds that it would be more economically productive and would mitigate some of the visual impacts of an elevated highway. It remains to be seen how they will react to being denied that option.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: jbnv on April 03, 2017, 02:17:29 PM
I left the word "currently" out of my statement. Yes, most of the traffic on the Thruway is coming into Lafayette from without or going out of Lafayette from within, as opposed to just passing through. My point was that the corridor currently gives people little reason to be their destination.

Quote from: Anthony_JK
Keep this in mind: We're talking about a city that is already divided roughly along the corridor. Furthermore, there isn't much reason for townspeople to go to the corridor in question other than to pass through the area.

Actually, I'd disagree with jbnv on people using the Thruway to bypass Lafayette. Traffic surveys done during the past 10 or 20 years clearly show that nearly 85-90% of the traffic on the Thruway is traffic headed or coming from within the city. Less than 11% of the traffic is using the Thruway to bypass Lafayette entirely.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: I-39 on May 20, 2017, 10:17:36 AM
So, hypothetically speaking, if this gas tax hike were to pass in Louisiana (which I know is a long shot), would improvements to the I-49 corridor (including this Lafayette Connector) be funded for construction?
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: cjk374 on May 20, 2017, 04:07:32 PM
So, hypothetically speaking, if this gas tax hike were to pass in Louisiana (which I know is a long shot), would improvements to the I-49 corridor (including this Lafayette Connector) be funded for construction?

Depends on how they decide to spend the money I guess. I read somewhere that the first year of the new tax, if passed, would bring in close to $510 million. Most likely they would distribute that all over the state in the form of maintenance & upkeep as well as bigger projects like I-49 (both north & south) & the I-10/12/110 cluster. And think about this: the Atchafalaya & Ponchitrain Causeways are old now. That may become bigger projects that out rank I-69.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 21, 2017, 11:55:22 AM
So, hypothetically speaking, if this gas tax hike were to pass in Louisiana (which I know is a long shot), would improvements to the I-49 corridor (including this Lafayette Connector) be funded for construction?



Depends on how they decide to spend the money I guess. I read somewhere that the first year of the new tax, if passed, would bring in close to $510 million. Most likely they would distribute that all over the state in the form of maintenance & upkeep as well as bigger projects like I-49 (both north & south) & the I-10/12/110 cluster. And think about this: the Atchafalaya & Ponchitrain Causeways are old now. That may become bigger projects that out rank I-69.

I'm thinking that the megaprojects would get first dibs, in which the Lafayette Connector would be first on the list; it is listed as the first project in Priority A to be funded. The segment of US 90 from the LA 308 interchange to west of Des Allemands would also get funded as part of the Priority A list. The US 90 segment from Ricohoc/Wax Lake to Berwick and the portion of the Westbank Expressway from just east of US 90 to the elevated portion near Ames Boulevard in Westwego would be funded as part of the Priority B megaprojects.

I'd also suspect that there would be an attempt to expedite that segment of US 90 south of Lafayette to LA 88, and to finally eliminate that pesky at-grade railroad crossing just south of LA 85 in Jeanerette. They are undecided whether to use an overpass over the railroad or abandon the railroad and build a pipeline to serve that sugar/molasses processing facility.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on May 21, 2017, 12:19:33 PM
In other news regarding the Lafayette Connector....


LADOTD recently signed a Supplemental Agreement with the lead consultant agency Stantec for the I-49 Lafayette Connector project Conceptual Design/Concept Refinement/Supplemental Environmental Impact studies which extends their contract to provide engineering and environmental study work for the project until October 2019. The original contract was only for conceptual design and a Reevaluation of the alternative that had been approved in 2003; but because city leaders and Lafayette folk raised plenty hell about that alternative and sought major changes in the design (but not in the general path of the alternative itself), LADOTD was induced to add an analysis of alternative designs. Between that and the changes in leadership and scope and environment that had taken place since the 2003 ROD, it was decided that an Supplemental EIS be undertaken; which would involve more detailed study.


Under the new plan, 6 "hybrid" concepts encompassing the entire length of the corridor would be analyzed under a review of the Tier II evaluation that had already been done for the center core section; those options would then be reduced to 3 finalist alternatives (2 new Supplemental Alternatives and the 2003 ROD Selected Alternative for control/comparison purposes) for the Tier III and SEIS microscopic environmental analysis. A Preferred Supplemental Alternative would then be selected out of the two finalists; that would be sent to Lafayette Consolidated Government and the Acadiana MPO for comment and approval; and then processed as a Draft SEIS for comment, review, and feedback via a Public Hearing sometime near summer or fall of 2018. That would produce a Final SEIS around winter of 2018/2019, followed by a Supplemental ROD, and then detailed CSS design under the original 2015 contract.


The new studies would also reflect some major changes in the environment of the footprint of the Connector corridor, including the induction of the adjacent Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood as an Historic District, the resolution of cleaning up and remediating the old Southern Pacific Railroad classification rail yard site (which has been charged with being contaminated with hazardous waste and could possibly threaten the Chicot Aquifer which serves as the source of Lafayette's drinking water), impacts to the runway approach at Lafayette Regional Airport that cuts right over the path of the freeway, and the program of the Evangeline Corridor Initiative to develop means of further utilizing the project to better connect and integrate the neighborhoods impacted directly.


And, of course, lurking in the background is the Sierra Club, ready to sue to gut the whole thing and reroute I-49 South through their beloved Teche Ridge Bypass in St. Martin Parish.


Interesting times we have.






Update (5-24-17): I've now posted the Supplemental Agreement #2 online via Scribd:


https://www.scribd.com/document/349301042/LADOTD-I49LafConnector-SupplementalAgreement-April-2017


Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on July 22, 2017, 02:54:20 AM
Since it has been a good while, allow me to do another update on the Connector design study/SEIS process progress.


Last week, the CSS Committees had their first meetings in three months, where LADOTD and the consulting team Lafayette Connector Partners (LCP) gave an update on the status of developing the revised Supplemental EIS alternatives.


A more detailed analysis of the meetings can be found at my Connector blog:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/07/15/new-connector-update-tier-iii-lft-changes/


The most significant news that came out of the meetings was the presentation of a major revision to the planned interchange with Kaliste Saloom Road from what was approved in the 2003 Record of Decision.


The original concept, as shown below (from presentation materials now posted at the Lafayette Connector website), used a 3-level fully directional interchange (required due to the need to cross over the BNSF/UP railroad line that parallels US 90/Evangeline Thruway/Future I-49 South). The highest flyover ramp would have been 45 feet above ground level. In addition, an access road would have been built parallel to Kaliste Saloom as a means of connecting KS with Hugh Wallis Road, which runs parallel to the railroad and US 90.




(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/07/OriginalI49KalisteSaloomRdInterchange_2003ROD.png)




The problem was that the original concept did not take into account the construction of the WoodSprings Suites hotel on Hugh Wallis Road, which cut into the ROW for the access road and the ramp from southbound Connector/southbound Evangeline Thruway to southbound Kaliste Saloom. In addition, the access road connection to KS would take some property from the Episcopal School of Acadiana, which had expanded its campus. Also, many in the community asked whether the traffic counts justified such a high-powered interchange design.


So, as part of the current process, LADOTD and LCP worked on some alternative designs; and the following is what they settled on. Kind of hard to describe it, so maybe call it a 2-level SPUI-T interchange?




(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/07/RevisedI49KalisteSaloomRdInterchange_201707.png)


The left turn movements now cross each other at-grade (controlled by traffic signals), and the ramp movements are much closer to the original Kaliste Saloom Road ROW. Also, the connection of the access road from KS to HW via what looks like a RIRO setup avoids the hotel property and the ESA access road, with less impacts to driveway access.


Note also how the southbound frontage road is also revised to run in front of the Acadiana Dodge dealership, rather than behind it as was originally proposed.


There was other news involving the design modifications that made it to the Tier III analysis, but that is covered in my blog post.


Bottom line is that possibly by next month they will introduce the 2 finalist End-to-End alternatives that will be studied in the Supplemental EIS (with the original 2003 ROD Selected Alternative included as a control for comparison purposes).



Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on July 27, 2017, 10:24:29 AM
One other development that I had missed in my latest update:


At that same series of meetings, LADOTD revealed a brief video sketch of a working animated model showing the revised Connector interchange with Kaliste Saloom Road near Lafayette Regional Airport. It shows how the new 2-level "SPUI T" would work in conjunction with the Connector mainline an frontage roads.


Here is the video (released by LADOTD via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bSB7K0RJA)):







Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: silverback1065 on July 27, 2017, 12:16:11 PM
One other development that I had missed in my latest update:


At that same series of meetings, LADOTD revealed a brief video sketch of a working animated model showing the revised Connector interchange with Kaliste Saloom Road near Lafayette Regional Airport. It shows how the new 2-level "SPUI T" would work in conjunction with the Connector mainline an frontage roads.


Here is the video (released by LADOTD via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bSB7K0RJA)):



wow, i've never seen one of those before, it seems more like a diverging t like a diverging diamond
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 10, 2017, 04:22:53 AM

wow, i've never seen one of those before, it seems more like a diverging t like a diverging diamond

Yeah, that's exactly what it looks like: one half of a diverging diamond, yet elevated to cross over the railroad, Hugh Wallis Road (the road on the west side of the RR opposite of the US 90/Future I-49 ROW) and the Connector mainline.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: sparker on August 11, 2017, 05:20:24 PM
One other development that I had missed in my latest update:


At that same series of meetings, LADOTD revealed a brief video sketch of a working animated model showing the revised Connector interchange with Kaliste Saloom Road near Lafayette Regional Airport. It shows how the new 2-level "SPUI T" would work in conjunction with the Connector mainline an frontage roads.


Here is the video (released by LADOTD via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bSB7K0RJA)):



wow, i've never seen one of those before, it seems more like a diverging t like a diverging diamond

Since the DDI crossing would ostensibly need to be supported by enough bents to accommodate the weight of the vehicles waiting for their green-phase movement, wouldn't a simple stack overpass at that point be at least as advantageous -- and probably entail a similar cost structure to the "half-DDI" arrangement, at least when the expense of the signaling system were calculated into the equation?  This seems like an attempt to install a traffic-control system recently finding favor for its own sake -- the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.  Of course, if the DDI was to be used in place of "ramp meters" -- to eke out traffic onto either the nascent I-49 and/or the intersecting road, that would be another thing altogether.  But unless this is the case, it seems that a simple direct interchange would be optimal here.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on August 11, 2017, 09:23:30 PM

Since the DDI crossing would ostensibly need to be supported by enough bents to accommodate the weight of the vehicles waiting for their green-phase movement, wouldn't a simple stack overpass at that point be at least as advantageous -- and probably entail a similar cost structure to the "half-DDI" arrangement, at least when the expense of the signaling system were calculated into the equation?  This seems like an attempt to install a traffic-control system recently finding favor for its own sake -- the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.  Of course, if the DDI was to be used in place of "ramp meters" -- to eke out traffic onto either the nascent I-49 and/or the intersecting road, that would be another thing altogether.  But unless this is the case, it seems that a simple direct interchange would be optimal here.

The original arrangement had called for a simpler 3-level directional stack, but with the ramps from the southbound Connector/frontage road to Kaliste Saloom Road shifted a bit northward. This would have meant a maximum height of at least 40 feet for the highest ramp crossing, and the end of the elevated segment of Kaliste Saloom Rd would have had to be extended as far south as the entrance to the Episcopal School of Acadiana. A connecting road would also have to be built connecting Hugh Wallis Road (the local road that runs parallel to US 90/Future I-49/Connector on the opposite side of the BNSF/UP rail line, on the north side of the rail ROW) and Kaliste Saloom Rd.

Reducing the level of the interchange allowed for a lower height that returned KS to ground level before reaching the access road to the ESA and surrounding properties; allowed for a RIRO connection with the connecting road to Hugh Wallis that can be much closer to the existing KS ROW, avoiding the conflict with a recently built hotel; and eliminated a possible potential conflict with Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) regarding the height of the highest ramp possibly encroaching on the glide path of a runway at LFT.

I'm also assuming that the lower costs of less elevated structure offset the costs of adding the signals to accommodate the 1/2 DDI design.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: sparker on August 12, 2017, 12:56:17 AM

Since the DDI crossing would ostensibly need to be supported by enough bents to accommodate the weight of the vehicles waiting for their green-phase movement, wouldn't a simple stack overpass at that point be at least as advantageous -- and probably entail a similar cost structure to the "half-DDI" arrangement, at least when the expense of the signaling system were calculated into the equation?  This seems like an attempt to install a traffic-control system recently finding favor for its own sake -- the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.  Of course, if the DDI was to be used in place of "ramp meters" -- to eke out traffic onto either the nascent I-49 and/or the intersecting road, that would be another thing altogether.  But unless this is the case, it seems that a simple direct interchange would be optimal here.

The original arrangement had called for a simpler 3-level directional stack, but with the ramps from the southbound Connector/frontage road to Kaliste Saloom Road shifted a bit northward. This would have meant a maximum height of at least 40 feet for the highest ramp crossing, and the end of the elevated segment of Kaliste Saloom Rd would have had to be extended as far south as the entrance to the Episcopal School of Acadiana. A connecting road would also have to be built connecting Hugh Wallis Road (the local road that runs parallel to US 90/Future I-49/Connector on the opposite side of the BNSF/UP rail line, on the north side of the rail ROW) and Kaliste Saloom Rd.

Reducing the level of the interchange allowed for a lower height that returned KS to ground level before reaching the access road to the ESA and surrounding properties; allowed for a RIRO connection with the connecting road to Hugh Wallis that can be much closer to the existing KS ROW, avoiding the conflict with a recently built hotel; and eliminated a possible potential conflict with Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) regarding the height of the highest ramp possibly encroaching on the glide path of a runway at LFT.

I'm also assuming that the lower costs of less elevated structure offset the costs of adding the signals to accommodate the 1/2 DDI design.

Thanks for the clarification of the circumstances.  It'll be interesting to see if this design is indeed deployed or whether something else will crop up in the interim! 
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: mgk920 on August 13, 2017, 12:08:20 PM
One other development that I had missed in my latest update:


At that same series of meetings, LADOTD revealed a brief video sketch of a working animated model showing the revised Connector interchange with Kaliste Saloom Road near Lafayette Regional Airport. It shows how the new 2-level "SPUI T" would work in conjunction with the Connector mainline an frontage roads.


Here is the video (released by LADOTD via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bSB7K0RJA)):



Why does this remind me of a certain interchange in Minnesota?

Mike
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on September 16, 2017, 11:42:45 AM
Since it's been a while, here's a new Connector update.


Last week, the CSS Committees met to view the remainder of revisions to the design interchange concepts for the final alternatives for the Connector freeway. Last month, the consultants had introduced the design revisions for the Kaliste Saloom Road interchange; for this meeting, the remainder of the Connector design tweaks were announced.


For brevity's sake, I'll simply give you schematics of both the originally proposed (by the 2003 Record of Decision approved) design and the revisions that were presented last week.






1) University/Surrey to Taft Street (includes Pinhook Road)


Original 2003 Concept:


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/OriginalI49ConnectorDesign_PinhookRoad.jpg)




Revised Concept (Depressed/lowered University/Surrey overpass + Pinhook Road "interchange"


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/RevisedI49ConnectorDesign_PinhookRoadInterchange.jpg)


Also, note the reduced phase turn lane on Pinhook approaching the Evangeline Thruway/Connector "interchange".




2) Downtown Core Area (Taft to RR Spur)


Original 2003 ROD Concept:


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/OriginalI49ConnectorDesign_DowntownCore.jpg)




Revised Concept (no interchanges downtown, continuously elevated, tangent)


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/RevisedI49ConnectorDesign_DowntownCore-200709.jpg)


The revisions show the Evangeline Thruway converted to a Grand Boulevard; there will also be an option for the Thruway remaining a one-way couplet as presently designed, but with a realignment from Jefferson Boulevard northward in order to move further away from the Sterling Grove Historical District.






Rail Spur to I-10 (including Willow Street Interchange and local crossover access)


Original 2003 ROD Concept


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/OriginalI49ConnectorDesign_WillowInterchange.jpg)


Revised Concept (North connection ramps braided with Willow St. ramps; double roundabout connections)


(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/09/RevisedI49ConnectorDesign_WillowInterchangeBraidedWithNConnection.jpg)




Full details can be found in my latest blog post over at my Connector blog:


http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/09/16/september-2017-connector-update/ (http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/09/16/september-2017-connector-update/)


The next steps would be to present the final two End-to-End Alternatives that would be analyzed along with the 2003 ROD Alternative (included for comparison purposes only) in the Supplemental EIS for final approval.


Not everyone was happy with the revisions, however; the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team lodged a heavy protest that these provisions were too light on provisions for pedestrians and non-vehicular traffic, and it caused some fireworks at the CSS Community Workgroup meeting. This article over at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser provides those details:


http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2017/09/07/interstate-49-connector-designs-offer-little-pedestrians/642306001/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2017/09/07/interstate-49-connector-designs-offer-little-pedestrians/642306001/)

In addition, the Advertiser posted an official editorial chastising LADOTD and the Connector consultants for shirking pedestrians:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2017/09/12/sidewalks-bike-lanes-paramount-connector-acceptance/656971001/ (http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/opinion/2017/09/12/sidewalks-bike-lanes-paramount-connector-acceptance/656971001/)

As always, further updates as they happen.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on October 21, 2017, 05:36:30 AM
Another Connector update on a milestone reached.

On Thursday, LADOTD and the Lafayette Connector Partners held an Open House Public Meeting to introduce the public to the initial End-to-End Refined Alternatives for the Connector freeway project.

The TL; DR line:

Two concepts will be explored for final analysis and evaluation in the Supplemental EIS:

1) The original design as approved in the 2003 Record of Decision:

(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/10/2003-ROD-Alternative-Full-View-1.png)


2) The revised Base Refinement Alternative

(http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/10/2003-ROD-Alternative-Full-View.png)

The major changes are:

1) A 2-level elevated Diverging T interchange at Kaliste Saloom Road;
2) A lower profile crossing of University Avenue/Surrey Street near Lafayette Regional Airport in order to avoid the current runway glide approach of Runway 11-29, accomplished by depressing University/Surrey up to 15 feet;
3) Shifting the south connection ramps to the Evangeline Thruway south to create a new interchange at Pinhook Road, with a reduced phase/divergent left turn movement;
4) A continuous elevated mainline freeway with a "tangent" alignment through downtown; no ramps allows for unrestricted connectivity for cross streets underneath;
5) Shifting the north connection ramps to the Evangeline Thruway to north of the rail spur crossing; braided with the south ramps to the Willow Street slip ramp urban diamond interchange;
6) Dogbone roundabouts providing local access on both sides of the Willow interchange to the frontage road system and local streets.

The base alternative assumes that the Evangeline Thruway in the central section near downtown is converted to an urbanized "Grand Boulevard" for local development, and carries a 22' vertical clearance throughout the central section.

Sub-alternatives to the base alternative will also be offered:

SubAlternative M-1 increases the vertical clearance for the central section near downtown to 30 feet; and
SubAlternative E-1 retains the Evangeline Thruway in its current one-way couplet format.

More detail can be found on my latest post to my Connector blog:

http://redgarterclub.com/RGClubNetwork/buildi49lafayetteconnector/2017/10/21/october-update-end-2-end-seis-aternatives-public-meeting/

Also, I promise, the graphics are much more viewable.

Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Gordon on February 10, 2018, 12:22:38 PM
I hope this post will open up the article. Wanting to find something on updates about how the process is going.  www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2018/02/01/interstate-49-connector-seis-draft-document-may-ready-year/1085551001/
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 10, 2018, 05:23:21 PM
I hope this post will open up the article. Wanting to find something on updates about how the process is going.  www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2018/02/01/interstate-49-connector-seis-draft-document-may-ready-year/1085551001/

Sorry for not updating as I usually would.

Basically, after last weeks CSS meetings, the consultants have essentially completed the Corridor Refinement Concept stage of determining alternatives to replace the Selected Alternative approved in the 2003 Final EIS/ROD.

Four alternatives will now advance into detailed analysis in the upcoming Supplemental Draft EIS; they are variations of the Base Refinement Alternative introduced in October of last year.

All the alternatives include interchanges at Willow Street, Pinhook Road, and Kaliste Saloom Road; the main difference is whether the Evangeline Thruway section downtown will be rebuilt in the present form of a one-way couplet or transformed on its southbound ROW into a six-lane "grand boulevard" with the existing northbound Thruway converted back to a 2-way local street.

The most recent meetings introduced a concern about the latest proposal for the north ramp connections to the Thruway. The Base Alternative would have braided these connections with the ramps to Willow Street just north of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad crossing, connecting with a proposed dogbone roundabout accessing Donlon Avenue and the entrance to a local Walmart Supercenter. Some locals, though, thought that would produce some issues of backup so close to the railroad crossing, and was too far away from accessing downtown. A subalternative is now being proposed that shifts the off ramp from the SB mainline to the Thruway further south past the railroad crossing just north of Mudd Avenue.

In addition, one of the original subalternatives planned, which would raise the vertical clearance of the elevated mainline from 22 feet to 30 feet will now be investigated as part of the forgoing CSS design process, and not be considered as a standalone subalternative.

It was also reported that the Executive Committee (which met yesterday) is considering consolidating the process by merging the Community Work Group and Technical Advisory committees, and accelerating the CSS design process in order to expedite the entire SEIS/Corridor Concept Plan. As the article mentioned, the goal is to have a working Draft SEIS published by the end of this year, with a Public Hearing on a final Supplemental Selected Alternative around February of 2019.

Obviously, as more details and graphs of the final alternatives come in, I will provide updates.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Gordon on February 10, 2018, 07:06:58 PM
Thanks Anthony, that explains it better than the article. I not familiar with the area.
Title: Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
Post by: Anthony_JK on February 22, 2019, 03:21:55 PM
It's been a good long while since I've been able to bump this thread because news on this project has been barren at best; but that may about to change.

Here's an article from the Acadiana Advocate (reposted in another thread) where LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson provides an update on the renewed status of the I-49 Lafayette Connector project:

https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/article_754f2f50-313b-11e9-abbf-cba22dbd3810.html

The new idea is to extend the contract for developing the Supplemental EIS and CSS processes in March or April so that a final Supplemental Record of Decision can be reached by early or mid 2021.

The concept of an "urban boulevard" using the portion of the Evangeline Thruway between Simcoe Street and Fourteenth Street not directly taken by the elevated freeway is still under consideration.

More details here, of course, as they become available.