Nov 19, 2012 4:59 PM by Melissa Canone
LAFAYETTE - Governor Bobby Jindal announced plans today to widen and construct a roughly two mile segment of I-49 South from North of Ambassador Caffery Parkway to Albertsons Parkway in Lafayette Parish. The project will be funded by bonding out the Unclaimed Property Fund and is expected to cost between $90 and $110 million. More than 35,000 commuters use this segment of roadway every day.
Governor Jindal said, "Our investment in roads and bridges comes down to one simple thing - jobs. A critical piece of transforming this region and our entire state for more economic growth is the completion of I-49 South. That's why investing and completing I-49 South has been our top transportation priority in this area since 2008. Completing I-49 South will reduce congestion, make our roads safer for our families, and make this region more accessible and more attractive to companies looking to invest and create jobs."
The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is pursuing a design-build contract to construct the project. The design-build process allows a designer and contractor to bid and collaborate on the project together, allowing for quicker project completion. This speeds up the project-delivery process and makes projects "shovel-ready" more quickly. This process provides value-add benefits for the taxpayers, ensuring cost-effective improvements throughout the project. In order to use the design-build process, DOTD needs legislative approval, and today, the Joint Transportation Committee approved the Jindal Administration's proposal. The project is expected to be awarded in early 2014, with estimated completion in early 2017.
Secretary LeBas said, "I'd like to thank Governor Jindal for his support towards the completion of the I-49 South corridor. We're always looking for innovative ways to complete projects, and utilizing the design-build method to upgrade this section of U.S. 90 to interstate standards will move us one step closer to achieving this goal."
The total I-49 south corridor includes approximately 160 miles of roadway, of which more than 100 miles have been completed or are currently under construction. Since entering office, the Jindal Administration has invested more than $120 million toward the completion of I-49 South. Once the bonding is complete for the project announced today, the total Jindal Administration investment for I-49 South will be roughly $220 million.
Some of the I-49 South projects that have been completed, include a $5.4 million project to construct frontage roads on U.S. 90 from La. 83 to Darnall Road and a $20 million project to widen U.S. 90 from four to six lanes from Pinhook to Broussard.
Once completed, I-49 South will provide direct access for Midwest industries to the ports of South Louisiana, a bypass around Baton Rouge for east-west traffic on I-10, and a connection between oil industry suppliers and manufacturers from New Orleans to Houston. The corridor improvements along I-49 South will also allow for quicker access to local airports and ports including the Lafayette Regional Airport, Acadiana Regional Airport and the Ports of Iberia, West St. Mary and Morgan City.
"I commend Governor Jindal for his support towards the completion of the I-49 South corridor," said Mayor of Broussard Charles Langlanais. "We're always looking for innovative ways to complete projects, and utilizing the design-build method to upgrade this section of U.S. 90 to interstate standards will move us one step closer to achieving this goal."
Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has invested $4.8 billion to upgrade more than 5,200 miles of Louisiana's roadways. This total includes $74 million in transportation projects that have been invested in Lafayette Parish.
"Upgrading U.S. 90 to interstate standards will not only help to boost economic growth in Lafayette Parish, but also in the entire Acadiana region," said State Senator Fred Mills.
Senator Page Cortez said, "Each project to complete I-49 South is a significant step forward for this community and for the state of Louisiana. I-49 South is an important corridor, and I am pleased that this project will create better access for the residents, travelers and businesses that use this route each day."
"I would like to applaud Governor Jindal and DOTD's commitment to providing quality roads for our state. This project is yet another example of how investing in infrastructure is moving Louisiana forward," said State Representative Taylor Barras.