$60M I-49 project approved

State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

An estimated $55 million to $60 million highway project to upgrade the U.S. 90 interchange at La. 318 in Four Corners to an interstate-quality highway was approved Monday by the State Legislative Joint Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Committee, a news release from State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin stated.
The project is part of an effort to complete I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans. The overpass at Four Corners is part of a Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development plan to achieve nearly $3.7 billion in savings while continuing to develop I-49 South, the release stated.
The project is part of a larger plan to improve daily commutes for workers by decreasing travel time and increasing safety through unhindered flow of traffic, the release stated.
“As a member of the Transportation Committee I have spent considerable time developing and funding this project, a major addition to future I-49 South,” Jones said. “Ultimately, this is part of opening up 42 miles of interstate-grade highway from Lafayette to Wax Lake.”
With the U.S. 90 interchange at La. 318 project fully funded, “we can now concentrate on frontage roads and interchange projects from Wax Lake to the Atchafalaya River, some of which are already in the design phase,” Jones said.
“Funding is the toughest part although this project required changes to accommodate residents, farmers and industry,” Jones said. The project is expected to be let for bids later this year or early 2015.
In September 2013, former State Sen. Mike Michot was named interim executive director of the I-49 South Coalition.
State Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, who helped form the I-49 South Coalition, is traveling to Washington, D.C., Thursday with Louisiana DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas to meet with U.S. Department of Transportation officials to discuss I-49 South funding, he said.
“The piece of the puzzle that was just done has been in planning for a while,” Allain said. “We’re trying to get as much done from the Calumet Cut and Lafayette.”
After the section between the Calumet Cut and Lafayette is finished, the next step will be the planning and construction at Red Cypress Road in Patterson continuing through east St. Mary Parish, Allain said. The most dangerous section of U.S. 90 with the most fatalities per capita is between the Calumet Cut and the U.S. 90 bridge in Morgan City, Allain said. “We have to address that, and that will be the push that we do next after we get La. 318 done.”

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