A poll of 500 likely voters in Lafayette Parish found that 81 percent think it’s important to complete Interstate 49 South through Lafayette, the regional economic development group One Acadiana announced Thursday.

About 55 percent of those polled believe the I-49 Connector — the portion of the interstate passing through the city limits — could improve the surrounding neighborhoods, according the poll results.

One Acadiana President and CEO Jason El Koubi said the response shows a “strong level” of support for a project that has attracted vocal opposition from some who would rather see I-49 built around the city or not at all.

One Acadiana has identified the completion of the interstate as one of its top regional priorities.

The road has been in the planning stages for decades, but the interstate has attracted more attention in recent months after the state Department of Transportation and Development began reaching out last year for public input on the preliminary design.

Much of the discussion has focused on the 5.5-mile, six-lane connector that would roughly follow the path of the Evangeline Thruway.

One Acadiana’s poll asked only two questions about I-49:

“How important is the completion of I-49 South through Lafayette to the future of Lafayette Parish?”

“Do you think the I-49 Lafayette Connector could be built in a way that could improve the neighborhoods which are currently adjacent to the Evangeline Thruway?”

On the question about completing I-49 South, 81 percent responded it was very important or important, 9.4 percent said it was unimportant or very unimportant, 8 percent said neither and 1.6 percent said they did not know or did not answer.

On the question about the connector improving adjacent neighborhoods, 54.8 percent said they believed it could, 33 percent said it could not, 11 percent were undecided and 1.2 percent did not answer.

The poll, which One Acadiana acknowledges is not a broad sample of parish residents, was conducted by telephone in January, and the I-49 questions were tacked onto unrelated questions about a Lafayette Parish School Board tax proposal.

The School Board had voted to put the proposal on the April 9 ballot but changed course this week and pulled the measure.