Port Fourchon – Governor Bobby Jindal marked the completion today of Phase 1A of the Louisiana 1 Expressway (La. 1) in Lafourche Parish. A $137.5 million investment, this 5.4-mile project built a two-lane elevated highway to replace the old La. 1.
Governor Jindal said, "A quality transportation system is critical for companies to have access to our energy resources here on the coast so they can create jobs for our people. La.1 is the only access route to Port Fourchon, the nation’s premier intermodal energy port, and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which is the nation’s only offshore oil port. Before today though, there wasn’t a better alternative for transporting supplies to Fourchon from inland locations, and many times throughout the year the old La. 1 would close due to flooding. This new road is vital to our economy and our nation’s energy infrastructure, and it will provide a much more efficient corridor to companies so they can access Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas resources, and we can continue to fuel the world. The new La. 1 will also provide a much better evacuation rate for residents down here as this road serves as the sole evacuation route for lower Lafourche Parish and the barrier island of Grand Isle."
The Governor cited statistics showing the importance of Port Fourchon to the energy industry, including:
- Combining domestic production and imports, Port Fourchon plays a strategic role in fueling America with 15-18 percent of its entire oil supply
- Port Fourchon is projected to service 44 percent of pending future deepwater plans and 58 percent of all offshore drilling in the Central Gulf over the next 30 year
- More than 200 large supply vessels cross the port's channels each day
The project, which totals $373 million in construction, engineering and right-of-way, was part of an effort to elevate the lowest part of La. 1, which was prone to flooding.
"From the onset, this has been a priority project," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "Projects such as this have an immediate positive impact on safety and economic development. This port is the southernmost port in Louisiana and centrally located in a large area of the Gulf that is rich in oil and natural gas."
State Senator Norby Chabert said, "I am pleased to have led the delegation that encouraged Gov. Jindal to support making La. 1 the state’s highest highway priority. When completed in its entirety, the newly constructed La. 1 will further open up this corridor to economic opportunities and continue to help our citizens and industries recover."
Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said, "I am thankful to Gov. Jindal and all the legislators and DOTD administrators who supported this important infrastructure improvement impact with the new La. 1 and our industry partners will be pleased."
Larry Griffin, President of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission said, "Port Fourchon services about 90 percent of all deepwater rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. We have experienced, first-hand, the impacts of losing land access to the port with any little storm, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. This elevated road means a great deal for the safety of the people who use La. 1 and for the hundreds of businesses, big and small, that depend on getting to Port Fourchon."
La. 1 Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet said, "We would not be standing here today without the tremendous support of our industry partners. I extend a huge thank you to the 55 civic-minded businesses that are members of the La. 1 Coalition, and who share our vision for securing this coastal access highway. Know that we will leave no stone unturned in our daily efforts to garner construction funds to get this project done."
Ted Falgout, La. 1 Coalition Board Chairman said, "We are extremely pleased with Phase 1A’s opening today and we thank the wide range of funding partner for making this segment of elevated highway a reality. At the same time we celebrate, we must press on to complete the entire 19-mile structure. Under my chairmanship, the Coalition will continue to educate policymakers on the needed investment in this congressionally designated High Priority Corridor."
Since taking office, the Jindal administration has invested more than $4.1 billion in Louisiana’s infrastructure. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Governor Jindal highlighted $64 million in transportation funding his administration has invested in Lafourche Parish projects, including:
- $3.5 million which resurfaced 3.3 miles of La. 3235 from La. 1 to Golden Meadow. The project began in October 2010 and was completed in January 2011.
- $2.8 million to replace the La. 20 Grand Bayou Bridge. Work on the project began in March 2011 and should be completed by May 2012.