The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), along with national, state, regional and local partners, are moving forward with the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process for the I-49 Lafayette Connector Project. As the historic preservation process and necessary survey, traffic analysis, and field sampling work progressed, the CSS scope was updated and contracted to continue the goal of achieving a project design that is affordable and acceptable to all key stakeholders and has the potential to become a community asset.
The Concept Refinement phase of the project is complete, and a refined alignment has been agreed upon with community stakeholders input and project partner approval. This includes the development of Evangeline Thruway to improve connectivity and provide access to I-49 from Downtown Lafayette and adjacent neighborhoods. In order to more effectively address the key CSS components of the mainline viaduct and urban design features, the former CSS Community Working Group (CWG) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) are being combined into a unified Advisory Group (AG) to provide a forum for the coordinated community and technical input for the CSS process. This process will focus on gathering input about various design features to help develop the I-49 Lafayette Connector Design Guidelines.
“Over the next several months, the I-49 Lafayette Connector Advisory Group will conduct a rigorous monthly workshop-based process to keep moving the project ahead with all appropriate parties involved,” said Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. “We’re looking forward to regrouping as a team to see the I-49 Lafayette Connector through to a final development plan.”
Within the next month, the DOTD will be contacting all key stakeholder groups to confirm representation and ongoing participation. For the public, an updated CSS process flowchart is available for viewing on the project website, while neighborhood meetings and public workshops are slated to be scheduled so the community can continue to be informed and ask questions.
The I-49 Lafayette Connector, part of DOTD’s Geaux South program, is a future 5.5-mile segment of highway that is a critical transportation link for Lafayette and the state as a whole. Geaux South is a $3 billion, multi-year construction initiative to convert approximately 160 miles of the current U.S. 90 corridor to Interstate 49 South. When completed, I-49 will extend from the current terminus at I-10 in Lafayette to the West Bank Expressway in New Orleans. Geaux South will support economic growth, improve access, reduce traffic congestion, and improve connectivity throughout the state’s transportation system.