Transport Route, Evacuations, are now easier to and from Lafayette
Another piece to the I-49 puzzle is now complete – Gov. John Bel Edwards cut the ribbon on a $57 million overpass on Friday, making U.S. 90 from Ambassador Caffery in Lafayette to La Hwy 1 in Raceland, 85 miles of controlled highway and vice-versa.
The overpass is located over U.S. Hwy 90 at La. Hwy 18, in Four Corners, in St. Mary Parish, but just a stone’s throw to Jeanerette, in Iberia Parish.
Two red lights – both located in St. Mary Parish, one in Bayou Vista and the other in Berwick are the only stops on a route that promises to increase transportation for oil and gas and sugar, as well as providing quicker evacuations for the residents of Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.
Edwards said infrastructure projects like the overpass, “are vital to our existence.”
At a recent meeting with the Organization for International Investment, the governor said that he learned the organization which boats 50 of the world’s biggest investors, thinks the state’s number one problem is its infrastructure.
“We love Louisiana, they said. But we have a problem. It’s not the way you do business, or how much you tax that concerns us, it’s your transportation infrastructure that makes us question whether Louisiana is the place we should invest our money,” Edwards said.
State Sen. Bret Allain, who was present with Edwards at the ribbon cutting, pointed out that with the completion of Hwy 318, there is now more than 85 miles of controlled highway between Ambassador Caffery in Lafayette, to La Hwy 1 in Raceland, and vice-versa.
‘There are now only two traffic lights between Ambassador Caffery and Raceland. How’s
that for a clean transportation route?” he said.
“This highway is a great step forward to I-49,” Allain said.
According to its website, The American Sugar Cane League estimates about 13 million tons of sugar cane is harvested in the state each year. Onto the truck goes the raw sugarcane, 50, 80, even 100,000 tons per truckload. From there, it travels the state’s highways to one of its major 11 sugar mills.
Small cane farmer Wilson Judice, whose family has farmed in nearby St. Mary, said the overpass will allow cane trucks to bypass regular vehicular transportation, making it easier to move to and from the co-op.
“If I’m not mistaken, there is a small amount of farmers in our area, who bring their crop to one of the mills in Lafourche,” he said.
Lafourche Councilman Jerry Jones said Raceland and Lafourche Sugars are two mills in the parish.
“I’m sure all farmers will be delighted to hear the road may be a bit easier,” he said.
Lafourche Councilman Corey Perrilloux said he is excited about the highway because it is a plus for hurricane evacuation.
“Anything that moves impediments out of the way, so folks can get to safety, is a win,” he said.
Terrebonne Councilman Darrin Guidry said he was excited to hear of the overpass, but until the connection is made to I-10 in Lafayette, “you really won’t see many folks moving this far south to open big business.”
“Big industry is looking for easy access – and while we have a lot to offer, until the connection is made in Lafayette, ” the I-49 connection doesn’t become whole, he said.