By Jeanne Arceneaux Hornsby, M.S., P.E., CFM – August 25, 2021
Jeanne Arceneaux Hornsby, M.S., P.E., CFM is an Engineering Director that obtained her Bachelor of… (Read More)
The vision of the people continues to make headway in the City of Scott and Lafayette Parish. The Apollo Road Extension began in 2011 as simply an idea on paper and has since evolved into an essential addition to the city. As we now embark on project Phases 2 and 3, it is inspirational to look back on how it all began. The extension was distinctive from the beginning as it was based on a comprehensive plan created by the community. After a long week of meeting and planning back in 2011, members of the Scott community came to a consensus on what they wanted their new road to look like. Instead of creating a generic asphalt road, Scott residents took the time to envision a certain aesthetic and standard for a corridor that would blend in with their community. The design of the roadway infrastructure incorporated the city’s social image as the Boudin Capital of the World and considered the hosting of vibrant festivals and farmer’s market events. The residents of this city did not want to create an ‘old Scott’ and a ‘new Scott.’ They instead wanted this new roadway to uphold their small-town charm and values.
This project was more than just a job to me. When it originated, I had just moved to the City of Scott—a small town with a great community feel that was looking to grow yet maintain their charisma and uniqueness. While the primary goals of the extension were to relieve traffic, help promote development in the area, and act as an evacuation route, it was also important to the residents that the new corridor represent who they are. The community did not just want a 2-lane asphalt road; they wanted something that could later be leveraged as an asset within the parish.
We can look to the construction of Lafayette’s West Regional Public Library as a keen example of the City of Scott’s foresight in planning. Consider that when the library was first built, Apollo Road did not yet exist, although it became a shared vision that this library was meant for the intersection of Apollo Road and Old Spanish Trail. While I no longer live in the city, my children still attend school there. Not only do I feel satisfaction while driving on this road that I helped to build, I am also thrilled to watch people use it to access the library.
The process of completing Phase 1 was not without its challenges. It is a testament to the project’s legitimacy and necessity that it survived multiple changes in administration, council, and staff members. There were also delays in funding that impacted project development. The state supplied funding to support water and sewer infrastructure but did not provide funding for constructing the road itself, leaving the city to ultimately self-fund this roadway project. Despite these challenges, the City of Scott’s leadership never lost sight of the fact that this development was the vision and the will of the people. I would encourage other communities to look at how developing and adhering to a truly comprehensive plan can improve quality of life. After all, that is what these plans are meant for: the lives of the people within the community.
After Phase 1 was completed in the second quarter of 2020, the City of Scott began Phases 2 and 3 of the extension on June 2nd of this year, 2021. These ongoing phases will continue the roadway’s construction to Dulles Drive and Rue De Belier. The 6-foot-wide sidewalks that were built during Phase 1 will continue for another 1.2 miles and connect all the way to Acadiana High School. With this expansion, residents will be able to walk from Acadiana High to the West Regional Library which will be an incredible benefit for children and families. As the construction progresses, drainage will remain a serious consideration. It is crucial that the system is regarded as a whole, rather than just looking at the roadway itself. Additional project goals are to increase the capacity of the culvert underneath Dulles Drive, and to allow for extra storage capacity in the channel further north through widening efforts.
In advance of the completion of Phases 2 and 3, the City of Scott has already seen incredible benefits from the construction of Apollo Road. In addition to successfully decreasing traffic and creating crucial evacuation routes, the walkability of the parish has improved immensely. Enhanced walkability not only allows for more comfortable mobility and exercise but has also been linked to stronger economic wellbeing.
Within half a mile of the Apollo Road Corridor and the West Regional Library, there are 3 elementary schools and one middle school. For this reason, we made it a project priority to secure safe lighting from the utility companies. The roadway will ultimately provide children with safe access in walking to and from both school and the library. Since the completion of Phase 1, I have attended many council meetings, and the community has given great feedback. Residents are excited about what the extension has added to the area.
After nearly a decade of dedication to the completion of Phase 1, our motivated team at Fenstermaker will now continue into the process of finishing Phases 2 and 3 with a projected completion date of 2023. These final phases were combined by the city to speed things up. Once completed, the Apollo Road Corridor will become the innovative addition to the city that the residents of Scott first envisioned all those years ago.
The collaborative approach that the city took in designing this roadway was not the only unique aspect of development. While engineering remains a heavily male-dominated field, I’m excited to share that each phase of the Apollo Road Extension Project was signed and sealed by a female engineer. The three other engineers that contributed to this project’s success were Callie Benton, Aimee Latiolais, and Anna Wyble Doucet.
Over the course of my career, I have completed numerous projects, and this one is special in being the first one where every single phase was signed off by a female engineer. In fact, each design creator was a female engineer, which is very impressive for a project of this magnitude. I
know I speak for all of us when I say that we’re proud of this project, we’re proud of the diversification within our firm, and we’re proud of the City of Scott for its tremendous progress.
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