A timetable for the Kaliste Saloom Road widening project has officially been established, with the construction expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The project consists of widening Kaliste Saloom Road from two to four lanes, as well as building a new section of the road with a bridge that’ll connect with East Broussard Road to form a roundabout, which is expected to improve traffic flow in a developing area of Lafayette.
Construction is now underway, and enough progress has been made for the project to be completed on schedule, according to Lafayette Consolidated Government engineer Mark Lavergne.
“The project is expected to be complete about three years from now,” Lavergne said. “There’s been lots of inspection and testing. There are about 26,000 cars that pass on Kaliste Saloom per day, and we’re building for a capacity of 40,000, which is should be quite enough for some time.”
Funding for the project remains an issue, as it was originally going to be funded by the state of Louisiana, but the funding never materialized even though Kaliste Saloom Road is a state highway.
“They (the state) originally offered us enough for a five-lane highway,” Lavergne said. “We only got $4 million, and we need $40 million. Those moneys (from the state) have not materialized yet, every year we apply. We can receive promise from them, but it (the money) is absolutely in the vapor until you actually see it.”
The LCG ended up taking over the project, as they decided it was too important to delay any further, and construction is currently over halfway through.
“We (LCG) took over the project design,” Lavergne said. “We decided to put up the money since it was such an important project for the community. The project is probably 65 percent complete. We’re about 5-6 years into construction and about $10 million into construction. We’ve spent about $6-7 million in utilities along with 3.3 million in drainage and sewage. People have been wondering why it’s taking so long, but they just haven’t been able to see it above ground yet.”
The project is being built near the Isaac Verot Coulee, which has a history of flooding, but Lavergne said that improvements have been made to ensure that flooding won’t be an issue for the new road.
“Whenever you build anything on a flood plain, there’s regulations,” Lavergne said. “Anything in a floodway must come with engineering analysis, you have to make improvements right around the bridge. When it rains you don’t see any flooding, it’s actually slightly improved.”
The location of the project is projected to be an attractive spot for businesses once construction is complete. Dog House Pet Grooming owner Susan Wood, who’s business is located along where the project is taking place, is glad that it’s underway.