LAFAYETTE — A proposed project to widen University Avenue north of Interstate 10 calls for a four-lane divided boulevard and two new roundabouts.
City-parish government on Thursday unveiled a rough plan to upgrade the major thoroughfare from two lanes to four lanes, a project that officials say is needed to handle increasing traffic in the northern part of the parish.
“Just with the development on the north end, something needs to happen,” Lafayette City-Parish Public Works Director Tom Carroll said.
The current plans, which are still subject to change, call for realigning some of the roads that would connect to the new boulevard and building roundabouts at University Avenue’s intersection with Renaud Drive and Pont des Mouton.
The divided boulevard would mean that some residents who can now turn out of their driveways left or right onto University Avenue might sometimes need to find the nearest cut in the median to cross over.
The plans call for cuts every 600 feet to 900 feet. The meeting on Thursday was to allow the public to view to basic design concept for the road, which could be several years off because no funding has been identified for the project.
The estimate for design, right-of-way acquisition and construction ranges from $38 million to $40 million, according to figures from Neel-Schaffer, the engineering firm that is working on the project.
A second meeting is expected later this year or early 2012 to allow residents to comment on a more refined design for the project, said Jerry Trumps, with Neel-Schaffer.
Trumps said the end product should look similar to the new stretch of Ambassador Caffery Parkway that opened last year in southern Lafayette Parish.
Under the current design, the widening project would require taking five to six residential properties and six commercial properties to allow for the expansion, according to figures from Neel-Schaffer.
University Avenue is a state road.Carroll said he still holds out hope of federal or state funds for the widening but that city-parish government is taking the lead in planning the upgrade so that the project will be ready to go should funding become available.