LAFAYETTE, La. - The concrete panels affixed to the Buchanan Street Parking Garage, weighing two and a half tons each, are at risk of falling, according to a press release from LCG.
A March 4th assessment of the 40-year-old structure completed by Huval and Associates determined that emergency measures are required to ensure the safety of Lafayette Parish pedestrians and motorists.
According to a Lafayette Consolidated Government engineering official who reviewed the assessment, the metal clips that secure the concrete panels to the exterior of the structure have deteriorated to the point where they "no longer represent an adequate level of safety against failure which would result in dislodgement of the panels."
With the consideration that the adjacent downtown areas are highly traveled by pedestrians and vehicles, immediate action is required to prevent significant injury or death, the release stated. The placement of barricades around the structure is expected to be completed by Monday, March 9.
A declaration has been filed with the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court deeming the Buchanan Street Garage and perimeter around the structure as a local emergency, requiring immediate action to minimize the threat to public safety.
Lafayette resident Robert Porter says he walks down Buchanan St. everyday, but Friday, he noticed the new barricades. Porter said, though, that the "whole street needs to be blocked off."
"You don't want someone to get hurt and then do something. So if it's unsafe, they either need to tear it down or make the repairs. It's a shame because we need a parking structure."
Mayor-President Josh Guillory has called an emergency meeting of the Lafayette Parish Council to release the necessary funds to remove the panels. The meeting will be held Monday, March 9 at 2 p.m. in the Lafayette Council Auditorium.
"Given the urgency of this situation, our priority is the safety of our citizens, and we will do everything possible to reduce the danger and minimize the cost to taxpayers," Guillory said. "I will work with the Lafayette Parish Council to see that this issue is resolved as quickly as possible."