Oct 10, 2013 7:29 PM by Akeam Ashford
For the last two years, lights along I-10 at the I-49 and University Ave. interchanges haven't been working.
The lights were installed in the mid 1970s and, according to the Department of Transportation and Development, they are past repair.
According to DOTD engineer Bill Oliver, the transportation department builds the lighting systems, then turns them over to Lafayette Consolidated Government, who then contracts with Lafayette Utilities System for the maintenance and upkeep.
"Sometimes you can no longer maintain some of those components and keep that system operating, and that system has gotten to that point that it needs to have parts of it replaced," says Oliver.
Oliver says the light systems at those intersections were only meant to last 20 to 25 years.
When the DOTD does initial construction of lighting systems, it receives 90 percent of the funding from the state. The other 10 percent comes from the parish or city government.
LCG engineer Richard Breaux recognizes the need for a new lighting system.
"The underground wiring has just served its time, so LCG has requested DOTD to upgrade that system; Install new wiring underground and everything," says Breaux.
In this case, the parish won't need to come up with 10 percent of the cost because this is a restoration, not a new installation. The project will cost $675,000.
DOTD says it plans to install new lights at the I-10 and Ambassador Caffery interchange as well. Since that project is not a rebuild of an old system, the parish will need to contribute 10 percent toward the total cost, which DOTD estimates will be between $500,000 and $1 million.
That project won't begin until 2015.