GOLDEN MEADOW, La. (AP) — State leaders have broken ground for a $463 million project that will elevate 8.3 miles of La. 1, one of the state's hurricane evacuation routes.
The groundbreaking held Friday is for work that will be done between Golden Meadow and Leeville, The Advocate reported. Once complete, 19.3 miles (30.5 kilometers) of the highway will be elevated between Golden Meadow and Port Fourchon, which handles nearly 90% of deepwater gas and petroleum extraction from the Gulf of Mexico.
“This corridor will provide relief for regional transportation needs, creating a resilient structure all while stimulating economic growth,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.
Republican U. S. Rep. Steve Scalise, of Metairie, said the work is one of his longtime goals. He said the groundbreaking “is a significant step forward for our region’s safety and the nation’s energy security.”
Federal officials in 2020 awarded the state $135 million, which is dedicated to the project. Another $150 million is coming from the state’s BP settlement after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.
The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2027.
“More than 1,300 trucks and heavy vehicles travel the La. 1 southern corridor daily to support port activity and energy production,” said Shawn Wilson, secretary for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
“Elevating La. 1 solves the challenges presented when port activity comes to a halt because of flooding on the existing at-grade highway,” Wilson said.
La. 1 services 17% of U.S. oil and gas production.