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Feb 17, 2010 7:36 PM by Jim Hummel

DOTD Stimulus Projects Take Shape

One year after President Obama signed the $787-billion Recovery Act, signs of progress in the transportation sector might be evident in the form of blueprints.

According to the Recovery Act's website, The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) received $344,366,035 of the $2,509,766,876 awarded to Louisiana.

More than $40-million of that will go toward projects in Acadiana alone, like the planned interchange on U.S. 90 over highway 85 in Iberia Parish.

"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is the stimulus act, is now working here in Acadiana with that project underway now," said Bill Fontenot with DOTD.

While crews have just started physically working on the interchange, Fontenot says this project and other "design-build" projects funded through the Recovery Act, have been in the planning and development stages for some time.

In addition to the Iberia Parish interchange, work is also about to begin on stimulus-funded projects in Lafayette as well. Road overlay projects are planned for various locations in Lafayette like the intersection of I-10 and North University Avenue, and the intersection of Cameron Street and North University Avenue.

"We should start seeing some progress I would imagine in April, and we should start seeing things happening from the stimulus projects," said Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Jay Castille, who also heads up the city's Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

The MPO received $9.6-million dollars in stimulus funds from DOTD, money that will go toward funding those various road overlay projects. Some also hope the funds will contribute to the Recovery Act's premise of keeping more people on the job, and getting more people back to work.

"I think it's going to create a few jobs, its going to help a few people who are having a hard time right now working job-to-job, trying to make ends meet," Castille said.

Bids for work on the Lafayette projects will take place in March, with work expected to begin sometime in April.

Jim Hummel

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