BELLE CHASSE, La. – Today, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) held a news conference to update work on the $10.5 million La. 23 elevation project in Plaquemines Parish. The event, held at the Microtel Inn & Suites in Belle Chasse on La. 23, was to announce the lane switch to two-way traffic on the northbound roadway with the plan to complete the most critical areas of the project prior to the peak of hurricane season, in August.
Starting July 10 through November 1, 2013, traffic will be switched to two-lanes on the northbound roadway as crews begin the process for raising the southbound portion of the roadway. Approximately 3.2 miles of southbound La. 23 will be raised by as little as two inches and as much as two feet in the areas most prone to flooding.
During this process, approximately seven miles of southbound La. 23 will be closed, from the intersection of Ravenna Road near Alliance to 1.5 miles south of the intersection at Lake Hermitage Road, in Point Celeste.
"This milestone, these improvements and this investment are part of the state’s overall effort to make La. 23 in Plaquemines Parish a safer and more efficient route, especially during emergencies," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "Strengthening the infrastructure, sustaining quality of life and providing residents and industry partners alike with a viable corridor to live and work in help to ensure that Plaquemines Parish continues to be a major contributor to the regional economy."
Joining Sec. LeBas for the announcement were Senator John Alario (Dist. 8) and Representative Chris Leopold (Dist. 105), who helped secure funding for the elevation project, which will also entail installing drainage structures, resurfacing both sides of the roadway within the project limits, and pavement patching.
"This is a vital project for the residents and businesses of the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish," said Sen. Alario. "Funding for the needed improvements to the primary evacuation route will enhance the quality of life and facilitate economic development while expediting recovery after rising waters from hurricanes. The economic benefits of opening commerce after a major storm will pay dividends for the State of Louisiana."
"This project best utilizes taxpayer resources as it reduces the recurring costs in mobilizing assets during storms," said Rep. Leopold. "The one-time resources spent on raising Highway 23 prove the local and state’s commitment to both the businesses and residents of the area, and we strive to improve our quality of life."
The project is designed to improve operator efficiency and drainage along La. 23, which follows the bends of the Mississippi River down the westbank of Plaquemines Parish. It is a major industrial corridor that also doubles as the primary evacuation route in Plaquemines Parish during emergency events. La. 23 was inundated with water during recent hurricanes and several tropical storms, with portions of the road being impassable and closed for extended periods of time following the events.
As part of the state’s flood protection planning, DOTD worked quickly, with support from state legislators and local elected officials, to secure funding and develop plans to complete the project as soon as possible. Funding being used for the project is a combination of federal, state and local monies. Work on the project began on June 13, 2013, and is expected to be complete in winter 2014.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 930 miles of interstate and 13,000 bridges, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).