Nearly $1 million will be retained for downtown Lafayette's Main Street redevelopment project under a compromise reached between the Joel Robideaux administration and downtown officials.

The Downtown Development Authority several years ago secured a $7.8 million federal grant to improve Main Street. But the lack of progress on the project resulted in it being earmarked as a dormant project and Robideaux asked to move the money to unrelated projects.


Plans to begin redeveloping Main Street in downtown Lafayette, La., pictured Tuesday, February 26, 2019, received a $1 million federal allocation secured with a $200,000 local match.

The Acadiana Metropolitan Planning Organization's Transportation Technical Committee Wednesday agreed to proceed with the compromise agreement, with $1 million going to the Main Street project and $6.8 million being transferred to other projects. Another MPO committee also is slated to vote on it.

The Main Street project funds will be used for a preliminary study, similar to what was done last year for the University Avenue corridor, that provides a road map of the whole project, Melanie Bordelon, planning commission director of transportation, said. 

Anita Begnaud, CEO for the Downtown Development Authority, said the DDA is working with Lafayette Consolidated Government on a budget amendment that would identify and allocate $200,000 in local funds to the project as a match to the $800,000 in federal grant funding. Some money has been identified, Begnaud said, and she hopes to get the budget amended in June to start the bidding process.

The technical committee voted Wednesday, per Robideaux's request, to transfer $8 million from five dormant projects, including $6.8 million from the Main Street project, $400,000 from an environmental assessment of Verot School Road widening from La. 82 to La. 3073, $400,000 from an environmental assessment of University Avenue widening from Pont des Mouton Road to Interstate 49, $200,000 from the West Congress Street corridor study and $177,295 from a roundabout at Pierce and West Congress streets.

The $8 million will be transferred to five other projects, including $4.6 million to phase 1 of the University Avenue corridor project from Jeanne to Gilman streets for design, engineering and the search for funding sources, Neil LeBouef, LCG planner and TTC member, said. Most of the work will be done within the existing road bed, he said, and much of the work will consist of intersection improvements, including a new turn lane at Cameron Street, crosswalks and lighting for pedestrians.

A separate project is in the works with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to build sidewalks along that entire stretch of University Avenue, LeBouef said, at least on one side of the street. Officials are working with the railroad company about building a sidewalk over the tracks, he said.

Another $500,000 will be transferred to a corridor study along Coolidge Street in the Oil Center from South College to St. Mary Boulevard, LeBouef said. The study would look at design alternatives and traffic impacts of making the boulevard more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

The intersection of Pinhook Road and Kaliste Saloom Road would receive $400,000 from the transfer. The intersection is "one of the most congested intersections we have, consistently," Warren Abadie, a transportation engineer with LCG and a TTC member, said. The money will be used to study the feasibility of building new left turns similar to the intersection of Camellia Boulevard and Johnston Street. The project, he said, probably will require construction of a new road between Silverbell Parkway and Pinhook Road.

Another $1.5 million will go to an adaptive traffic signal project which uses cellular data and GPS on emergency vehicle such as fire trucks to coordinate traffic signals when the vehicle is responding to an emergency, Abadie said.

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