While the Lafayette I-49 Connector progress plods along in the concept/design phase, Broussard has its own version of the Connector that is well under construction. Traffic along the future Broussard I-49 Connector has long been rerouted, bulldozers and pile drivers have been at work since 2014 as this major infrastructure project now begins to take shape. I know many Lafayette Connector advocates would love to trade places with Broussard and be dealing with construction and traffic delays instead of a long and sometimes frustrating design process.
Unlike Lafayette’s billion dollar project, Broussard’s version is a paltry $58 Million, 1.64 mile piece of the I-49 South puzzle that will greatly improve intersections at Albertson’s Parkway/St Nazaire, LA Hwy 182/Cade Hwy and Ambassador Caffery. Scheduled for completion, early 2018, this construction will be a major improvement to the Broussard area, connectivity and safety, not to mention hurricane evacuation for neighbors to the south.
Since the Broussard I-49 Connector project was proposed and began construction so long ago, it’s been hard to remember what all the fuss is about. The Broussard Economic Development Committee in conjunction with the City of Broussard took on the task of reminding us all how good this is going to be for the area. A new video animation has been completed to illustrate just exactly how this section of the future I-49 will look once complete not to mention how vital for the area.
One of the more dramatic improvements for Broussard area locals, highlighted in the video animation, will be the re-stitching of the City that has been undone at Albertson’s Parkway and Celebrity Drive with J-turns and detours for construction. One of the first parts of the project scheduled for completion will be the overpass at Albertson’s Parkway and St Nazaire that will dramatically improve the ease of access to major retail, restaurants and many of the businesses located in the industrial part of the area, Bayou Tortue, St Martinville and beyond.
The St. Nazaire Commercial Corridor is a vital retail zone for the city and the parish, with continued success in spite of all the road construction. With as much $100 Million in retail sales per year in a short 6/10ths of mile, reconnection to this area can’t come quick enough. This need will be amplified with the opening of St. Julien Park, the one of a kind, Broussard Sports Complex, next spring. The massive $30 million-plus public sports complex being built on 122 acres of land will attract numerous local baseball, softball and soccer squads during the week and a host of traveling teams on the weekend.
To the south, I think very few are aware of the major, grade separated, intersection planned at Ambassador Caffery and the future I-49. Included in this current construction project is the creation of this new interchange to accommodate traffic and the coming growth to the area. With proposed major retail planned, school expansion in the area and residential growth, this new intersection will be just in time. This intersection, where right of way acquisitions are beginning, seems sure to be the next for new speculation and major growth. Look for signs of it taking shape soon.
This stretch of the further extension of 1-49, now US Hwy 90, from I-10 to the Westbank Expressway in New Orleans has been given the moniker “America’s Energy Corridor”. For good reason, most of this thoroughfare is home to many of the oil and gas service, maintenance and production companies that account for much of the entire industry, not only in the United States but the world over. It should not be forgotten just how vital this part of future I-49 is and will be not only to our area but much of the country and the Broussard I-49 Connector a very important part.
All in all, this major improvement is nearer its completion than beginning and that is a very good thing for anyone that has to move around or through south Lafayette Parish. Timing for publishing this video animation reminding us of what we will have sooner rather than later couldn’t come at a better time.
Steven P. Hebert, President & CEO, Billeaud Companies