Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - For nearly 25 years, residents in Lafayette and the surrounding communities have heard the phrase "I-49 Lafayette Connector Project." The massive undertaking has been on the radar of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, so much so that they created a website specifically to house information about the endeavor. Now, Louisiana lawmakers are pushing to get the project moving.

The I-49 Lafayette Connector is expected to extend I-49 from its current intersection with I-10 to the Lafayette Regional Airport, a key component for the I-49 South project. According to DOTD, the highway:

... will function as a critical hurricane evacuation route, complete a major energy and trade corridor to the nation and enhance safety by providing new interstate connectivity within the Lafayette region and to New Orleans.

DOTD has collaborated with stakeholders from each sector to determine the best solution. Maps upon maps have been developed, public meetings scheduled, and report after report has been drafted through the years.

The most recent iterations suggest two solutions for the connector's path through Lafayette: roundabouts or traffic signals. You can see each version at the I-49 Connector website.

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Lawmakers have passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 41 (SCR 41), introduced by Senator Blake Miguez (Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin), which urges and requests the DOTD to expedite the process to complete the Interstate 49 Lafayette Connector. Lafayette Mayor-President Monique B. Boulet has been actively collaborating with area legislators to advance this resolution, illustrating a commitment at every level of government to the project.

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As a proponent of the project since her days with the Acadiana Planning Commission, Boulet expressed her appreciation for the support:

This resolution is a testament to our community's dedication to improving our infrastructure and fostering economic development. We are grateful for DOTD’s leadership and their commitment to seeing this project through to completion.

Commenting on the resolution's passage, Senator Miguez says:

The I-49 Lafayette Connector is essential for the continued growth and connectivity of our region. By passing SCR 41, we are sending a clear message to DOTD about the importance of adhering to the project schedule. I am proud to work with our local legislative delegation and Mayor-President Boulet to move this critical project forward.

Securing the funding for the project is the ultimate goal but, according to DOTD, the completion of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and the Secondary Record of Decision (SROD) are critical steps required before funding and construction of the I-49 Lafayette Connector can begin. The SEIS and SROD are scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.

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Gallery Credit: Karolyi

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