Construction nears for next leg of LA 1 project
Construction should begin this fall on the next leg of the nearly 19-year effort to complete the elevated replacement of the time-worn, and often-impassable, Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1) corridor from Golden Meadow, La., to Port Fourchon.
Henri Boulet, executive director of the public-private LA 1 Coalition, said the $46-million project entails a 3,400-ft ramp and elevating T-wall, which will provide utility access over the South Lafourche Levee in Golden Meadow. Funding for the span included $40 million from Louisiana’s Capital Outlay Program, with the remainder coming from industry matching funds. Construction was to have begun earlier this year, but the U.S. Corps of Engineers has not yet finalized the T-wall permit, Boulet said. “We’re inching along. We expect the state to put this section out to bid in June, and we should be seeing cranes three months later. We’re basically just waiting on the federal permit to build the T-wall.”
The utility overpass is essential before construction can begin on the two remaining segments of the LA 1 project: a 6-mi roadway from Golden Meadow and the tie-in to the elevated roadway from Leeville to Port Fourchon, which has been in use since 2011. Construction of the final sections, however, will cost a cumulative $300 million.
To that end, Boulet said the coalition is investigating funding possibilities from myriad state, federal and industry sources, including a provision within the new federal highway bill signed into law last December. “The nationally significant freight program that came out of the congressional highway bill, for the first time, puts energy as a criteria in that it specifies improvements for highways vital to national energy security. We’ll be applying to hopefully receive some of the $300 million we need to finish the project,” said Boulet.
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