The Buchanan parking lot in downtown Lafayette will reopen in time for the Festival International de Louisiane crowds, according to a statement from the Lafayette Consolidated Government.
“The first phase of construction to repair the deteriorated steel columns and beams has been completed. The second phase to repair the elevators and stairwells is expected to begin in approximately three months,” the statement said. “Elevators will not operate until phase two is complete. Staff will use a golf cart to transport those unable to descend garage levels.”
Festival parking is $5. After the festival ends, the parking fee is $1 per hour, the statement said.
The six-story structure built in 1981 was abruptly closed in October 2018 after it was deemed unsafe, exacerbating parking issues for patrons of the nearby Lafayette Parish courthouse as many street parking spaces near the courthouse were then reserved for courthouse employees who used The Garage.
Corrosion damaged more than half of the steel beams and columns that support the floors of the 344-vehicle parking garage.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory signed an emergency declaration in March 2020 after an engineer’s report found advanced to severe corrosion in the latches that connect some of the 200 panels to the garage itself. The panels were removed to lighten the load on the structure.
Phase 1 of the garage repairs, involving structural repairs to the car park, as well as sandblasting and painting the exterior of the structure and installing an impact-resistant cable system, was due to be completed in January for a cost of $1.6 million.
Phase 2 is expected to include the repair or replacement of elevators, as well as repairs to stairwells and the electrical system, at an estimated cost of $1.6 million. The second phase may also include interior painting for an estimated cost of $500,000 to $800,000.