Results of a poll commissioned by One Acadiana and Connect Lafayette, a coalition of local groups and governments that support "thoughtful design" for the Interstate 49 Connector, suggest Lafayette Parish voters support completion of the interstate through the city, according to a news release from Connect Lafayette.
More than 1,000 Lafayette Parish residents, chosen from a database of registered voters provided by Connect Lafayette because they voted in the parish during the last five years, were polled between Nov. 22 and Dec. 6 by Vermilion Marketing and Opinion Research, according to a Connect Lafayette news release.
They were asked three questions about the I-49 Lafayette Connector.
Question 1: The completion of I-49 South from Shreveport through Lafayette all the way to New Orleans has been discussed for over 25 years. How important is the completion of I-49 South through Lafayette to the future of Lafayette Parish?
Response: 620 respondents, or 62.9 percent, rated completion of the Connector "very important," 218 or 21.8 percent rated it "important," 25 or 2.5 percent rated it "unimportant," and 31 or 3 percent rated it very unimportant. Another 66 or 6.6 percent said it was neither important or unimportant and 32 or 3.2 percent didn't know or wouldn't answer.
Question 2: In your opinion, do you think that replacing the Evangeline Thruway, U.S. 90 through Lafayette with a new, elevated interstate highway would be an improvement over the condition of the Thruway as it exists today?
Response: 676 respondents, or 67.5 percent, said yes compared with 209 or 20.9 percent who said know. Another 117 or 12 percent didn't know.
Question 3: Regardless of a specific design, do you think replacing the Evangeline Thruway, U.S. 90 through Lafayette with a new interstate highway would be an improvement over the condition of the Thruway as it exists today?
Response: 709 respondents, or 70.8 percent, said yes, while 150 or 15 percent said no and 143 or 14.3 percent said they didn't know.
Representatives of Connect Lafayette, including One Acadiana, Upper Lafayette Economic Development Founation and Destiny of Faith Church, said the most recent poll results show the importance of the project and that residents and business people show overwhelming support for the project.
One Acadiana, in January 2016, commissioned a poll of 500 frequent voters, also about I-49. Asked how important completion of the I-49 Connector is to the future of Lafayette Parish, 51 percent of respondents said it was very important, 30 percent said important and 9 percent said either unimportant or very unimportant.
The second question in that poll asked if respondents thought the Connector could be built in a way that could improve the neighborhoods adjacent to Evangeline Thruway. Fifty-five percent said yes and 33 percent said no.