DOTD Hosts I-49 Lafayette Connector “Community Vision & Values Workshop”

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Workshop participants use colored stickers to give input on design types.
Workshop participants use colored stickers to give input on design types.
DOTD Project Manager Toby Picard welcomes the workshop attendees.
DOTD Project Manager Toby Picard welcomes the workshop attendees.

(LAFAYETTE, La.) – DOTD and its Lafayette Connector Partners held a “Community Vision & Values Workshop” Saturday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Progressive Outreach Center located at 125 Gallian St. in Lafayette. The workshop was the first of many events planned for the year where the community can share its ideas, hopes and opinions about the I-49 Lafayette Connector.

“This project is a significant opportunity for the Lafayette community to contribute toward the completion of a vital transportation link in the Acadiana region,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. “With participation from the Lafayette community, in events such as this workshop, we can truly develop a project that benefits the local community.”

Secretary Wilson and Lafayette Parish Mayor-President Joel Robideaux recorded a video message that was played for the more than 200 at people in attendance at the event. “The I-49 Lafayette Connector project will be able to connect the city in a way that doesn’t currently exist,” said Robideaux. “With the help of DOTD, federal and local government, and the community, we can do something that is transformative and that we’re all proud of.”

Monique Boulet, Acadiana Planning Commission District 4 Regional Administrator, gave a presentation on the history of the Evangeline Thruway corridor and the I-49 project. “The Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) transportation model indicates that the construction of the I-49 Connector will have a significant impact on the entire Regional Roadway Network,” said Boulet. “For the 2040 design year, it is anticipated that the construction of the I-49 Connector will reduce vehicle traffic along major roadways in the area of the Connector by 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles daily.”

Workshop attendees then participated in three breakout sessions focused on bridge and structural urban design features, environmental aspects of the project and a review of the alignment. In these smaller groups, the public was able to ask questions, share feedback and learn more about how they can help shape the Connector. The event concluded with a wrap-up and visual preference survey in which attendees “voted” for the kinds of design elements they prefer.

The goal of the “Community Vision & Values Workshop” was two-fold: to engage the broader public and share important information needed to understand the project, and also to gather the community’s priorities, values and ideas related to what the Connector can be. That feedback will be used to draft a “Vision and Values” statement that will guide the project as it moves forward, ensuring that it is an asset to the community.

Neighborhood walkabouts are planned for Saturday, Feb. 20 in the areas surrounding the corridor. DOTD and its Connector Partners will be walking with area residents and discussing their vision for the Connector and how it will integrate with the community. Please visit LafayetteConnector.com for information on routes and times.

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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. More information about the Connector is available at LafayetteConnector.com.