|Google Earth image showing the approximate path of the |
proposed Teche Ridge bypass.
And, as taxpayers the difference in estimated cost is staggering. The 5.5 mile I-49 Connector (Divider) is estimated to cost over $1 billion, while the 20 mile Teche Ridge route would cost far less than one third of that total. This is over $200 million per mile for the Connector before costs of toxic waste cleanup and flood control are even considered. The 20 mile Teche Ridge route would cost a more conventional $15 million per mile.
The Teche Ridge route would obviate extending the Lafayette Regional Airport runway into the Cypress Island Swamp, avoid issues of diminished airport safety, obviate wetland loss from fill, and obviate induced flooding associated with the airport revisions. It also greatly improves resilience of hurricane evacuation for the large population living south of Lafayette.
Furthermore, the Teche Ridge route could be a part of a larger project to provide a bypass loop around our urban core. Combining the Teche Ridge route with the western Lafayette Regional Xpressway (LRX) would give Lafayette a full urban interstate loop. Now, note that this 80 mile loop would cost approximately the same as the 5.5 urban Divider being forced on our taxpayers and neighborhoods.
For more information on the Teche Ridge, check out these resources:
Teche Ridge Bypass Facebook page
Presentation by Harold Schoeffler to the St. Martin Parish Police Jury
Teche News article on the Teche Ridge Highway alternative.
The Daily Iberian, February 17, 2016, Teche Ridge I-49 proposal gets traction in St. Martin