Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The I-49 Lafayette Western Bypass Option: The "Lafayette Regional Xpressway"

One bypass alternative for Lafayette has been under study by the DOTD since 2003. At that time, the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission was created by the Louisiana State Legislature. They are commissioned to study alternatives for the Lafayette Regional Xpressway, or simply the LRX. The LRX would create a bypass loop which begins in the south at Highway 90 / I-49 south of Broussard, has a major interchanges as it crosses Highway 167 (Johnston Street) north of Abbeville, and I-10 between Duson and Scott. This portion of the roadway would be very roughly 25 miles. The bypass would then continue north and east for roughly 20 miles to return to I-49 north of Carencro. An eastern bypass leg of very roughly 15 miles would run south east from north of Carencro to I-10 west of Breaux Bridge. Total length of the Lafayette Regional Xpressway bypass would then be very roughly 60 miles.

 The Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway 2005 feasibility study’s rendering of a proposed expressway. (Photo: Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway)

At an estimated cost of $760 million, the cost per mile for this roadway is under $13 million per Interstate mile. The 5.5 mile Lafayette Connector project which now has cost estimates of over $1 billion before toxic waste removal and flood mitigation have even been considered. This gives the Connector a cost that will greatly exceed $182 million per mile. 

More information is available at

Lafayette Regional Xpressway Project Website

The Advertiser, October 23, 2015,  Citigroup and the Lafayette Loop — what's next?

The Advertiser, October 23, 2015,  Is Lafayette ready for a traffic loop?

Lafayette Regional Expressway Rendering


  1. Is this not pretty close to the outer-outer loop corridor mapped out in the early/mid 1970s by Regional Planning? Go with one of these, and Lafayette instantly has something BTR would give its eye teeth for.

    1. I'm not familiar with that proposed loop, but I bet it is very similar. It just makes sense to do this. If any other readers know about the 1970's Regional Plan, please reply.

    2. I'm not familiar with that proposed loop, but I bet it is very similar. It just makes sense to do this. If any other readers know about the 1970's Regional Plan, please reply.

  2. Replies
    1. Glad you asked: Costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars less than the Lafayette Connector route through the city, relieves our real traffic problems which are on Hwy 167/Johnston St and not on Evangeline Thruway, gives hurricane evacuation along a reliable surface route that doesn't congest the city's evacuation, flooding is much less an issue, no need to move the LFT runway, no need to fill Cypress Island Swamp, no loss of property value from interstate stigma, it will not go through a highly toxic waste area or threaten our drinking water, and it could be constructed much more quickly.

  3. Once again, totally wrong and totally off base analysis.

    The recent restarting of the environmental process for the LRX loop has chosen a new preferred corridor for that project which shifts the alignment well south of what is labeled in this post. The new preferred corridor follows the Outer 1 corridor west of Scott generally in the area of LA 343 near the Lafayette-Acadia parish line, then curves around Maurice to its south and east, then straddles the Lafayette/Vermilion parish line to US 90 near the LA 88 interchange before ending at LA 182 south of Cade. This would make the LRX less feasible as a bypass substitute for the Connector on length alone.

    And, Michael's cost estimates are as far off as everything else here. Based on the Tier I EIS, the Preferred Corridor for the LRX (Outer Corridor 1 North + Outer Corridor South) would have an estimated total cost of $919 million to $1.25 billion...which would be actually the same if not more than the alleged $1B cost of the "Con". (In actuality, the Connector would probably cost no more than $600-700 million, even including the enhancements proposed by the ECI.) What savings, exactly?

    Now, there is a genuine benefit in that the LRX Preferred Corridor would better facilitate an evacuation of Vermilion Parish with a more direct northerly bypass corridor bypassing Lafayette entirely. That would also relieve US 167 north of Maurice and even Johnston Street, and also improve greatly the Evangeline Thruway corridor for evac purposes.

    The main point is that the Connector and LRX are stand alone projects, each with their own merits and justifications. Both can be built together to compliment and complete the freeway/tollway system in Greater Lafayette....and I wouldn't even mind incorporating Teche Ridge into the LRX to make a complete loop around Lafayette. That does not and should not, however, obviate the obvious need for the Connector freeway to be built to complete I-49 South in the most direct and efficient means possible, and to enable economic redevelopment of the City of Lafayette. LRX deserves funding and construction as a future need; but the Connector is needed RIGHT NOW.

  4. I am for the loop.

    I am not for the "Connector" -- I'm for turning the Thruway back into a regular street. I think *this* would be better for economic redevelopment.