LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — Representatives of two advisory committees are expressing concerns over preliminary engineering designs for an interstate connector through Lafayette.
The Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1T3W9w9) reports that the connector's technical advisory committee and community working group on Thursday were shown an overview of preliminary engineering designs that were prepared based on previous input and decisions made more than 10 years ago.
The Interstate 49 connector through Lafayette will cost between $750 million and $850 million and will connect with Interstate 10. A large portion of it will be elevated.
From 2006 to 2008, work started on planning and design, with public comment lasting only about three months before the project was put on hold in 2008. It remained dormant until about six weeks ago.
At both meetings Thursday, local representatives said they had been hoping to have more input on the designs. Community working group member John Arceneaux said the plans he saw Thursday are very different from drawings he had seen before.
"There's a really big disconnect between those pretty park pictures and this," Arceneaux said.
Consultant Robert Schmidt told the technical advisory committee that there is limited flexibility when it comes to design and traffic.
Schmidt said the project has been worked on for 25 years. There's a point, if changes are made, where planners will have to start all over because of Federal Highway Administration policies.
Toby Picard, I-49 project manager with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said the project cannot stray too far from its intended purpose and need, to solve transportation problems.
"We can't lose sight of that," Picard said. "We all need to come together to support this project."
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com