Improvements to Lafayette’s downtown area may extend eastward after the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously to take over of a portion of Jefferson Boulevard from the state's jurisdiction.

Until tonight, the thoroughfare east of the downtown area was under the jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana and the Department of Transportation and Development. With the council’s approval, the city now has the opportunity to beautify, repair and maintain Jefferson Boulevard extending to Simcoe Street.

“This will basically extend the streetscape on Jefferson (Boulevard) that is in the downtown proper, across the (Evangeline) Thruway to Simcoe,” LCG‘s Director of Public Works Kevin Blanchard said.

Blanchard explained that these kind of transactions occur when what were once state roads become situated in more urban settings. He also added that the acquisition comes with a $129,000 credit that is designated through a right-sizing program. That amount from the state reflects the calculated maintenance costs to that section of the street for 40 years.

Though the $129,000 credit is designated for certain qualifying improvements, Blanchard said there are funds in the city-parish government’s coffers, in the tune of $800,000-900,000, that are already designated for streetscape projects.

“The road should be bid out by this summer,” Blanchard added. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we’ll start seeing construction relatively soon.”