Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) has been provisionally awarded two 2013 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana grants which total $148,853. LCG is responsible for initial expenditures for the project, and the FHWA will reimburse 80% of project costs, up to the total amount awarded for each grant.
The first grant project, the Atakapa-Ishak Trail (AI Trail) Breaux Bridge Highway, was awarded $92,571 to continue development of the AI Trail and connect Pa Davis Park in Lafayette to Parc des Ponts in Breaux Bridge. The trail will culminate in a joint-use trailhead at Parc des Ponts that will serve users of both the AI Trail and the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail. LCG will be responsible for the improvements within Lafayette Parish and the Lafayette Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will coordinate with the non-profit group TECHE Project on the trailhead. The total project cost including grant funding and local match is expected to be approximately $128,000. The required local match for the project within Lafayette Parish will be provided by LCG; the local match for the Parc des Ponts trailhead will be provided by the St. Martin Parish Tourism Commission, the city of Breaux Bridge, the Breaux Bridge Kiwanis Club, and the non-profit group TRAIL.
The AI Trail is a multi-use trail named for the indigenous Indian tribe of the same name. It is a multi-year, multi-phased effort which, when complete, will ultimately connect Lafayette to the nearby communities of Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville. The AI Trail will expand the Acadiana region’s transportation network and also provide recreational opportunities for local residents and tourists. Phase 1 of the AI Trail was opened in February 2011; Phase 2 is currently being constructed and is anticipated to be open for use by late Fall 2013.
LCG also received a grant award of $56,282 to fund two connected projects: the Acadiana Hills bike route and pedestrian infill along the AI Trail Phase 1. The Acadiana Hills portion of the project will provide Share the Road signage and pavement markings along an existing recreational cycling route; the route follows General Mouton Ave., Hugh Wallis Rd., Southwest U.S. Hwy. 90 Frontage Rd., and Bonin Rd. The signage and markings will be installed between General Mouton at E. University Ave. (where the route intersects the AI Trail Phase 1) and Bonin Rd. at Garber Rd. The grant will also fund pedestrian infrastructure infill on Phase 1 of the AI Trail along General Mouton Ave. between E. University Ave. and E. Pinhook Rd. Bicycle improvements were installed along this section of AI Trail in 2011 through a previous grant funded project. The total estimated project cost including the local match by LCG is $78,000.
Combined, the AI Trail Breaux Bridge Highway and Acadiana Hills Bike Route/ AI Trail Pedestrian Infill projects will provide roughly 11.4 miles of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities within the Lafayette area.