GOLDEN MEADOW, La. - The elevated portion of Louisiana Highway 1 carries 1,000 trucks a day to the massive oil industry supply center along the coast.
"Port Fourchon services 90 percent of all the deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico," said Port Fourchon Executive Director Chett Chiasson, explaining the vital importance of the port to Louisiana and America.
But the elevated highway is not complete. Between Leeville and Golden Meadow traffic has to use the old ground level highway that easily floods during hurricanes.
Now design work has started on a key section of the last phase of LA 1, the bridge over the levee in Golden Meadow.
"Bill, it is absolutely critical because we have limited time with old LA 1," explained LA 1 Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet. "From what we're hearing from federal studies, it is continuing to subside, you know, at nine millimeters a year."
The last eight miles of elevated highway is expected to cost $320 million.
"The elevating of LA 1 between Golden Meadow from inside the levee system all the way to Leeville will give us that protection for hurricane evacuation, as well as constant access to the port," stated Chiasson.
However, the raised portion of LA 1 ends here at Port Fourchon. But the two lane road continues at ground level all the way to Grand Isle, where residents have felt left out of this process since it began. But now state officials are planning to improve this roadway.
They'll widen the road, repave it, and add four foot shoulders that are also covered with asphalt. "And its going to be substantially armored with rock on the side of the roadbed that will be better able to absorb any storm surge forces, and protect the highway," said Boulet. State officials expect to begin accepting bids on the project at the end of August.