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Author Topic: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)  (Read 49966 times)

jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #100 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.

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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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #101 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 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.

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I-39

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #102 on: April 02, 2016, 06:46:37 PM »

When will they decide on a final alternative?
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #103 on: April 02, 2016, 08:57:58 PM »

Any way we can get illustrations of these alternatives? Are they posted online?
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #104 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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #105 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.
 
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #106 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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #107 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.
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #108 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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #109 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.

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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #110 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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #111 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, 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:



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)





Concept 1B is same as 1A but uses Tight Urban Diamond interchanges rather than SPUIs @ Second/Third and Johnston interchanges.





Base Concept 2A (Johnston St. Interchange/Underpass)
Second/Third interchange/underpass eliminated.







Base Concept 2B (Second/Third Couplet Interchange/Underpass)
Johnston interchange/underpass eliminated.




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.





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.





Base Concept 3C: Same as 3B except the C/D roadways are both depressed and capped (cut-and-cover).







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.










Base Concept 4B (Evangeline Thruway Connectivity System, No RR Grade Separations)







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".







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.







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??
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jbnv

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #112 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.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #113 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #114 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #115 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #116 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #117 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #118 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. 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.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2016, 02:49:54 PM by jbnv »
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #119 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..
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #120 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #121 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.



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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #122 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?
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #123 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.
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Re: I-49 South/I-49 Lafayette Connector (The Ongoing Process To Progress)
« Reply #124 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.
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