LAFAYETTE - A public meeting is scheduled Thursday for residents to learn about an emerging plan to widen University Avenue to four lanes from Interstate 10 to Pont des Mouton Road.

The project, which could provide some traffic relief on the major north Lafayette thoroughfare, is still years away, and no firm timeline has been set, said Tom Carroll, director of the Lafayette City-Parish Department of Public Works.

But he said engineers have begun preliminary design and planning work.

“This is going to be a long-term process, but you have to start somewhere,” Carroll said.

The public meeting, scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Clifton Chenier Center, will give residents an early glimpse of how the project might look and how it might affect them, Carroll said.

The current plans call for University Avenue to be widened as a divided boulevard, he said, and residents will be able to see where the medians and openings are planned.

“I’m sure there are going to be concerns from some people,” Carroll said.

University Avenue is a state road, but Carroll said city-parish officials are moving forward as if the widening would be a local project because prospects are dim for state funding.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has been working on University Avenue this year, but crews are overlaying the road, not widening it.

The overlay work stretches from Lafayette north through Carencro.

The overlay is already complete in some areas, and the entire stretch should be finished by year’s end, said Mike Moss, the DOTD engineer who oversees the Acadiana region.