NewsCovering Louisiana


DOTD Secretary: "When you know better, you do better"

Dr. Shawn Wilson has traveled to the most impacted areas after Ida.
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Posted at 9:46 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 23:10:32-04

The Department of Transportation and Development says there are a few things to can learn from what the state is seeing in the storm’s aftermath.

Crews are traveling to the impacted areas and they are seeing the good and the bad of a hurricane’s aftermath.

“Today, we saw the best and the worst of hurricane Ida,” said Dr. Shawn Wilson, DOTD’s secretary. “In terms of the best, we first stopped at Lafite, Louisiana where the Louisiana national guard worked to deploy what is called a floating bridge to the island of Barataria.”

He says this bridge will be crucial in people getting back to their homes. Unfortunately, however, he says some people might not have homes to come back to.

“Facilities, homes, camps, public facilities, spaces, utility lines, towers, just amazingly destroyed,” he said. “One of the most devastating that we were able to see was LA-1 at ground level, you can see straight through the burrito levee out to the Gulf of Mexico at eye level.”

He says, for people that have never been through this before. In terms of infrastructure, this is a wake-up call.

"We’ve been down this road before,” he said. “The issue is are we going to do something about it or are we going to just consider ourselves lucky and live to fight again another year from now. I don’t think that’s the right thing. When you know better, you do better.”

He believes the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida is an example of the needs that could be met by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act.

“That bill could help harden our electrical grid, that bill, when passed could provide resilience funding for us, that bill when passed could address some climate change issues that are impacting infrastructure,” he said.

Dr. Wilson says both local and federal help is being used to fund the path towards recovery.

“We’ve got tremendous assistance, just today the federal government approved a 5 million dollar quick release that I requested to rebuild LA-1, we had a couple of washouts and delamination,” he said. “As well as to help repair the bridge that is sitting in the water in Lafite.”

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