Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Louisiana wants your opinion on a Lafayette Interstate 49 bypass, the LRX

Thursday, February 28, 2019, at the Lafayette Parish South Regional Library, the State of Louisiana will host a public hearing on their plans to build a western bypass around the City of Lafayette. The meeting will continue from 5:30 to until 7:30 pm.
Meeting Agenda:
  • 5:30-6:00 pm -View exhibits and speak with the project team
  • 6:00-6:15 pm - formal presentation
  • 6:45-7:30 - public invited to provide comments in a moderated and recorded forum
The host agency for the meeting is the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission or LMEC. Beginning almost twenty years ago, efforts and support of Lafayette civic leaders led to the creation of the LMEC by our Louisiana Legislature in 2003. The LMEC provides oversight for construction planning and financial planning for a proposed Lafayette limited access interstate bypass. They call their proposed bypass the LRX or Lafayette Regional Xpressway.
After years of work, plans have progressed, and the LMEC is seeking your comments on their Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which evaluates potential alternative highway corridors. The plan is for the LRX to be partially funded by tolls as part of a public-private partnership (PPP). As such, this project might be funded and built long before the costly I-49 connector (I-49 Con) project moves a shovel of dirt.  
The state will not say that the LRX is an alternative to the widely-opposed and costly I-49 Connector. I assume this is necessary to avoid loosing federal planning funds. However, the choice is clear - the LRX eliminates the reasons for building the I-49 Connector. If it is not an alternative then let's call it a substitute. If well managed and designed, the LRX substitute is financially a better deal for taxpayers. The LRX should have little or no flood impact, unlike the I-49 Con it will not cross a massive abandoned toxic site or impact our drinking water, and it will reduce traffic congestion in the city while giving rural residents new travel options. 
You can learn more about the LRX plan through the LMEC website http://www.lrxpressway.com/Their meeting announcement is available by clicking HERE.
DevelopingLafayette.com published an excellent article titled "Lafayette Metro Expressway “Lafayette Loop” Planning Continues.". And Claire Taylor published an article in The Advocate titled "Public can weigh in on Lafayette toll loop during Feb. 28 meeting." Click on the titles to read these articles.
Your comments to the LMEC and state DOTD will be accepted at the meeting. If you are unable to attend, or just want to give additional comments, you can submit your comments via their Web site (www.lrxpressway.com), or by U.S. mail to LRX Project Team, HNTB Corporation, 10000 Perkins Rowe, Ste. 640, Baton Rouge, LA 70810. Any written comments received by or postmarked on or before March 11, 2019 or 45 days following publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, whichever is later, will become a part of the record.
After the February 28 meeting I will publish an article here in Connector Comments detailing new LRX developments and comments I hear from other participants. 
I urge you to support the LRX and help save our city and parish from the disaster that is the I-49 Con.  
Alternative LRX corridor map from 2017 public meeting.