Mayor touts ‘gateway’ into parish

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK --  Traffic travels along an open section of road Friday at the roundabout in Scott. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Traffic travels along an open section of road Friday at the roundabout in Scott.

Scott works to get land for roadway

Scott has begun acquiring land for a new 2-mile, four-lane extension of Apollo Road while work wraps up on a $2.3 million roundabout at the Scott exit off Interstate 10 — two projects the mayor says are integral to creating a new commercial corridor for the city.

“This will be a new gateway coming into the parish,” Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison said.

The $15 million Apollo Road extension will start on the north at Cameron Street and run two miles south to the intersection of Dulles Drive and Rue de Belier.

The extension is among the largest projects the city has ever undertaken and will serve as an alternate route from I-10 into the heart of Lafayette for many drivers who now sit in traffic on Ambassador Caffery Parkway to the east.

Morrison said traffic consultants predict from 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles a day will use the new four-lane roadway.

“That’s going to be a busy road. I can tell you that,” the mayor said.

The attraction for Scott is the commercial potential on what is now largely inaccessible vacant land. The city has designed a road that Morrison said will cater to high-end development.

The four-lane will be a boulevard with attractive lighting and an 8-foot walking and biking trail on both sides, and the city is working with a design team from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to create a master plan for the road that will address such issues as landscaping, layout, how far buildings should be set back and the mix of businesses the city hopes to attract, said Pat Logan, a planner for Scott.

Construction is scheduled to begin next year on the road extension, which is being funded with $10 million from Scott and $5 million from the state.

A related project that is key for moving traffic down the new Apollo Road extension is a $2.3 million roundabout the state is building at the Scott exit off I-10.

Traffic is often backed up at the tangled roads that meet near the interstate exit — St. Mary Street, Apollo Road, a frontage road and entrance and exit ramps for I-10.

“It will tie all that together and make some order out of it,” Logan said of the roundabout.

Construction of the roundabout began in November, and it is expected to be completed by this fall, said state Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman Deidra Druilhet.

One small section of the roundabout opened Friday, and Druilhet said the state will gradually open other portions as the work progresses.

At present, more than 11,000 vehicles a day pass through the area, according to figures from DOTD.

Morrison said the Apollo Road extension is expected to bring so many more vehicles through the city that traffic would likely have choked at the northern end of Apollo Road near I-10.

“Without the roundabout, I don’t think we could have built the Apollo Road extension,” Morrison said.

In another nearby project, work crews on Friday began boring holes under I-10 to run water and sewer north of the interstate in an effort to fuel development for an area that lacks municipal services.

One commercial development is already planned for the area, a 44-acre site called Destination Pointe.

The $1.2 million water and sewer project is scheduled to be finished by October and will also open the door for installing fire hydrants to areas of the city north of I-10, Morrison said.