Posted: Jul 9, 2013 4:03 PM by MELISSA CANONE
BREAUX BRIDGE, La. - Today, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Sherri H. LeBas was joined by state and local officials to kick-off construction for the La. 3177 project as part of the Quality Surface Program.
The Quality Surface Program is a more than $425 million initiative to resurface and repair approximately 1,100 miles of roadways across the state.
This historic resurfacing program was made possible through Governor Jindal and the legislature's effort to pass a bill allowing for the bonding of the State Highway Improvement Fund (SHIF) revenue stream for non-federal aid routes. The bonded funds, combined with the SHIF's regular funds, will allow the state to improve the quality of roadways, many in rural areas, which in some cases haven't been touched in over 30 years.
"The La. 3177 project is another great example of DOTD's commitment to investing in our state's infrastructure," said DOTD Secretary LeBas. "When we invest in our state's infrastructure, the result isn't just about producing quality roads. It's also about enhancing the quality of life for the people of Louisiana."
As the sixth project under the Quality Surface Program to start construction, the $3.4 million project will include resurfacing 5.64 miles of La. 3177 from La. 100 to I-10 in St. Martin Parish. Work on the project will begin in July 2013.
Serving as a direct connection to Interstate 10 and with close proximity to the Atchafalaya River, the La. 3177 improvements will allow for local governments to more efficiently evacuate residents in the event of a natural disaster.
The corridor improvements along La. 3177 will also allow for quicker access to local airports and ports including the Lafayette Regional Airport, Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and the Ports of New Iberia and Baton Rouge.
Other major industries in the area that will benefit from the La. 3177 project include the Louisiana Sugar Cane Co-Op., the Atchafalaya Crawfish Processor, Cargill Salt, Alon USA Energy, Inc., Guidry's Catfish, Inc., Cajun Chef Products, O'Neal Steel Inc., Enterprise Transportation Co., and crawfish farming.
In the first year of the Quality Surface Program, projects were distributed across the state with funding and mileage divided between north and south Louisiana. With 36 parishes represented, approximately $82 million or 5,800 lane miles in projects come from north Louisiana and approximately $70 million or 5,200 lane miles are from south Louisiana.
Many of the routes in the Quality Surfaces program are used heavily by Louisiana's agricultural industry, which contributes approximately $10 billion per year to the state's economy. Repairing these roads will help to support the agriculture industry by restoring the ride quality of the roadways and making it easier for farming communities to transfer their goods to market.
"The Quality Surface Program will not only provide local residents with quality roads, but this program is a vital step in our state's effort to enhance the quality of roads, in rural areas, throughout Louisiana," said Senator Fred Mills.
"The project to resurface La. 3177 will enhance safety for local commuters and contribute to the economic growth along a corridor frequented by fishermen and hunters each year," said Representative Mike Huval.
"With La. 3177 serving as a direct connection to Interstate 10, this project will provide a safer hurricane evacuation route for local residents," said Guy Cormier, St. Martin Parish President.
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.