Mayor Greg Jones cuts the ribbon for the Interstate 10 service road as City Council members, the chief of police, Hoffpauer family members and many, many more look on. The road, a two-year construction project, finally was completed in May and officially opened for business Friday.
Open and operational
Before the ribbon was cut, the joy of a road finally opening was visible on every face imaginable.
From city employees to aldermen and alderwomen, from parish officials to the Tourism Commission, from the chamber to economic stakeholders and from landowners to energy providers, all on hand Friday for the Interstate 10 service road’s opening couldn’t erase the smiles. The energy was great too with many volunteering to take the "Road Closed" barricades off the road themselves.
“There are too many people to thank,” said Mayor Greg Jones as the anxious group made their way to the newly completed road. “I’m going to look at y’all and hope I don’t forget anyone.
Jones listed off names, from the Hoffpauer family to current and past legislators (federal and state) and council members as well as the Department of Transportation and more.
The list was lengthy and even still, he came back and added Mader Engineering and others.
With a project that seemingly took forever, the list was understandable. And after joking once more that while the road had no name (that will be decided in the coming months), it would not be called “Took Too Long Road”, Jones grabbed the ceremonial scissors and ribbon and made the cut that many have waited to see for such a long time.
“I could go back to Chris John and Charles Boustany,” said Jones pointing to how long of a process this road has been.
“This is courtesy $1.9 million from the federal government,” he said. “And a whole lot from us.
“We’ve had great support from the Chamber ... (as well as OneAcadia).”
Jones pointed out that the cooperation he received from the state and federal delegation was a starch contrast to the weather, which took a 170-day project that began in May 2015 and turned it, literally into a two-year project. Still, now, that all gets erased, a footnote in the lengthy history of the road that hopefully, just now, is seeing its beginning.
That beginning, most would agree, could mean great things for Crowley and Acadia Parish’s economies.
“It’s great to see this road completed,” said Crowley Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Amy Thibodeaux. “It not only opens the exits, but it opens the doors of opportunity for our community.
“We look forward to a thriving commercial area (to come).”
Early in the construction process, a development was discussed along the road that would of included retail businesses along with living facilities. But after many delays, what will happen with all of those plans, remains to be seen. The road opening however, is just that, an opening, one that Jones, Thibodeaux and OneAcadia President and CEO Laurie Suire all agree could mean great things for the city and parish.
“We’re excited about the possibilities of this being a gateway, a visible gateway to Acadia Parish,” said Suire. “One that will create jobs and sales revenue.”
And while many would agree that the road opening would fall under the “about time” category, there is still plenty of work to be done to create the see the full vision of the road come to fruition.
“We feel it will open up a lot of commercial acreage and developable property in general,” said Jones.