A U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security study confirms the national economic significance of a stretch of Louisiana Highway 1 (LA 1) which is vulnerable to flooding and prone to road closures. The highway is the only road to Port Fourchon, which services over 90% of deepwater energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and supports 16% of the nation’s energy.
Since 2005, the vulnerable two-lane Louisiana highway has been overtopped by storm surge and closed to traffic for 23 days collectively. It’s predicted that sea level rise will force LA 1 road closures of 90 or more consecutive days per year by the late 2030’s, and a powerful storm could result in a 90-day outage even earlier, according to the study.
The “Louisiana Highway 1/Port Fourchon Study” concludes that a 90-day closure of 7.1 mi. along the existing LA Highway 1 would also cause a 90-day closure of Port Fourchon that would result in a reduction of up to $7.8 billion in American gross domestic product. Domestic oil and gas production would also be significantly impacted for a period of 10 years following such a closure, according to the report.
The study fortifies the need for a continuous, secure elevated highway from Golden Meadow, LA, to the energy hub of Port Fourchon, LA, according to the LA 1 Coalition. A proposed nine-mile elevated highway between Golden Meadow and Leeville costing $320 million, known as Phase 2 of the LA 1 Improvement Project, would replace the vulnerable highway section evaluated in the study.
“Finally, our federal government is officially acknowledging the immense value of this vulnerable highway to the national economy and our national energy supply,” said LA 1 Coalition chairman Ted Falgout. “This credible national study provides very compelling reasons why the federal government should invest in construction of an elevated highway from Golden Meadow to Leeville, providing a continuous 19-mi. secure highway route to Port Fourchon.”
The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) of the United States Dept. of Homeland Security and the National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute at University of Louisiana at Lafayette collaborated on the study.
Additional details from the study can be found at www.LA1Coalition.org.