The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) will take bids on Dec. 13 on construction of Phase 1A of the LA 1 elevated roadway between Port Fourchon and Leeville.
“LA 1 is a crucial highway because it serves as the only evacuation route for lower Lafourche Parish and Grand Isle,” DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry said. “It also is the only road to Port Fourchon, which supports three-fourths of the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater oil production and more than 18 percent of the entire nation’s oil and gas supply.”
The existing LA 1 road is prone to flooding because of subsidence and coastal erosion.
The new 9-mi. elevated roadway will connect Port Fourchon to Leeville, where a new bridge will cross Bayou Lafourche. The bridge and its connectors and approaches comprise portions of the LA 1 project that already are under construction.
Construction on the bridge, connectors and approaches are scheduled for completion in February 2009. The elevated roadway should be finished by July 2011.
DOTD estimates the cost of Phase 1A, the elevated roadway, to be between $100 million and $125 million.
Bradberry noted that the project would not be possible without the support of several groups, including:
• LA 1 Coalition, which built and maintained community and political support for LA 1.
• Lafourche Parish, which committed money to the project.
• The Greater Lafourche Parish Port Commission, which committed money to the project, donated dredging services and financed the environmental mitigation costs.
• Louisiana Legislative and Congressional Delegations, which lent political support to the projects.
• The Federal Highway Administration, which approved a $66 million loan that will be repaid with tolling proceeds.
• The citizens of Grand Isle and lower Lafourche Parish, who agreed to support the project through tolls.
• Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco’s office, which has pledged continued financial support for the project.
Bradberry said the tolling aspect of the project is significant because it guarantees the federal loan, which makes the project feasible.