Cormier pushing Teche Ridge as a Lafayette bypass
While prospects appear dim that Interstate 49 will detour around Lafayette on the Teche Ridge, St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier says there is still hope for a major new highway in the parish on that naturally elevated route.
In remarks for information only to the Parish Council Tuesday, Cormier said he will be asking for a resolution of support from the council for the Teche Ridge to be used as a shortcut from the someday I-49 south of Lafayette to I-10 east of Lafayette.
Cormier likened it to Shreveport’s Inner Loop Expressway, La. 3132, by which a motorist can get from I-49 north to I-20 west without going through the city.
An alternative to Lafayette traffic would be valuable especially during hurricane evacuations, he said.
The Teche Ridge, a natural levee built by an ancient meander of the Mississippi, has been touted as a cheaper and less disruptive route for I-49 south.
“Lots of money has been spent to place I-49 in its entirety through Lafayette Parish,” Cormier said.
He noted that the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission, a creature of the Louisiana Legislature, has been studying the feasibility of a west loop around the city.
“It’s time to start a conversation about a loop on the east side,” Cormier said. “We need to start that conversation with DOTD.”
The platform for initiating that proposal would be the Lafayette Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which consists of representatives from local governments in the “Lafayette Urbanized Area” as defined by the U.S. Census and on which Cormier serves.
Cormier said the Teche Ridge bypass would not be the same project as the proposed La. 31 bypass of St. Martinville. “Different route altogether,” he said.