BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today that James Construction Group LLC is the apparent low bidder for the La. 1 elevated roadway project between Port Fourchon and Leeville.
James bid $137,479,548.15 for Phase 1A of the La. 1 project, which consists of a 5.3-mile, 40-foot wide two-lane elevated highway south of Leeville to La. 3090 at Port Fourchon. The existing La. 1 is prone to flooding because of subsidence and coastal erosion, but the new road will have an elevation of 22.5 feet. The new elevated highway is scheduled to be complete in 2009.
Port Fourchon services approximately 18 percent of the nation’s supply of crude oil and natural gas and handles more than 75 percent of the current oil and gas production in the entire Gulf of Mexico. More than 600 offshore oil and gas platforms lie within a 40-mile radius of Port Fourchon. Studies project that 58 percent of all Louisiana’s new offshore drilling over the next 30 years will be in Port Fourchon’s service area.
“La. 1 is the road to Louisiana’s economic stability and the path to America’s energy security,” said DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry. “La. 1 is also vital for the local economy and the safety of residents.”
Every day, nearly 1,000 big trucks travel down a 30-mile section of La. 1 toward Port Fourchon. The new La. 1 will increase safety and convenience for more than 35,000 residents and workers who rely on the highway for daily travel and their only hurricane evacuation route.
“The taking of this bid is a strategically important step in securing access to America’s energy corridor,” said Henri Boulet, executive director of the LA 1 Coalition.
Improvements to La. 1 also will benefit Louisiana’s seafood industry. Each day, an estimated 20 percent of the state’s seafood is transported via La. 1 to numerous destinations. Commercial fishing vessels make nearly 4,000 round trips per year in and out of Port Fourchon. Additionally, two of the largest sources of tourism revenue for this region are recreational hunters and fishermen who travel La. 1 in the process.
Bradberry noted that the project would not be possible without the support of several groups, including:
- LA 1 Coalition, which built and maintained community and political support for La. 1.
- Lafourche Parish, which committed money to the project.
- The Greater Lafourche Parish Port Commission, which committed money to the project, donated dredging services and financed the environmental mitigation costs.
- Louisiana legislative and congressional delegations, which support the project.
- The Federal Highway Administration, which approved a $66-million loan that will be repaid with tolling proceeds.
- The citizens of Grand Isle and lower Lafourche Parish, who agreed to support the project through tolls.
- Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who has pledged continued financial support for the project.