Construction to start soon on elevated stretch of La. 1

December 23, 2021 GMT

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — Construction will begin early next year on a $463 million project that will add 8.3 miles (13.4 kilometers) of elevated highway in Louisiana’s Lafourche Parish.

State highway chief Shawn Wilson executed the contract with James Construction last month and the agency is expected to issue formal notice to proceed with construction from Golden Meadow to Leeville by Jan. 31, according to the La. 1 Coalition.

The local group has been a key advocate for the years-long La. 1 project, which includes four phases to upgrade the two-lane highway from U.S. 90 to Port Fourchon, The Courier reported.

The latest section, Phase 2, is expected to open in 2027. It will elevate one of the highway’s most flood-prone sections, where water during storms or high tides has sometimes prevented road access to the port and Grand Isle.

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“The execution of a contract for construction of Phase 2 is a milestone achievement for the coalition, Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Lafourche Parish, the state of Louisiana and all of the industry stakeholders who depend on a safe and reliable La. 1 to fuel and feed our nation,” La. 1 Coalition Chairman Chett Chiasson said Monday in a newsletter to group members and supporters.

The state received word in June 2020 that a federal grant, secured with the help of U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise and Garret Graves, will pay $135 million toward the work. About $150 million will come from the state’s share of fines levied against BP after the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The rest will come from a combination of state construction money, the Lafourche Port Commission, the Parish Council and businesses and oil companies that use or rely on the port.

“Elevating LA 1 is not only essential for the protection of Louisiana families, but absolutely vital for achieving American energy dominance and safeguarding access to our nation’s oil and natural gas supply,” Scalise has said.

An estimated 1,200 trucks travel La. 1 each day to and from the port, a service hub for almost all of the Gulf of Mexico oilfield.