Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco led a group of state, federal and local officials April 4 to officially break ground on a new elevated roadway for La. 1 between Leeville and Port Fourchon.
The new highway will be part of a multi-phase plan to rebuild La. 1, the only evacuation route for lower Lafourche Parish and Grand Isle, the state’s only inhabited barrier island. Construction of the elevated roadway will cost $137 million, and James Construction of Baton Rouge is the contractor.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry joined Blanco at the groundbreaking and told several hundred guests that La. 1 is an important route for the economic and national security interests of Louisiana and the nation. Approximately 18 percent of the nation’s oil and natural gas supply passes through Port Fourchon, which can only be accessed by La. 1.
“Rebuilding this road protects our national security interests, it benefits our economy, it protects our environment and it keeps us safe,” Bradberry said.
The 6-mi. (9.6 km) highway will have two 12-ft. (3.6 m) lanes, two 8-ft. (2.4 m) shoulders and an elevation of 22.5 ft. (6.9 m). Construction is expected to be completed by Fall 2011.
DOTD also is ensuring that the new road be built in an environmentally sensitive manner by employing a “top-down” construction method. This type of construction will minimize the impact on the sensitive marsh because no heavy equipment is placed on the ground or moved across the marsh, as is the case with traditional construction. Using top-down construction, contractors will construct a trestle system that flanks the bridge as it is being constructed. The system, along with each finished bridge span, will be used as a platform for the cranes and other equipment required to place the piles and superstructure for the next span of the bridge.