Today, Governor Bobby Jindal highlighted a $3.4 million investment to resurface more than 5 miles of La. 3177 in St. Martin Parish. The roadway is one of the main routes in the Atchafalaya area and connects to I-10 to help local companies transport goods to and from the interstate. La. 3177 also serves as a main hurricane evacuation route.
Governor Jindal said, "La. 3177 is a key route for St. Martin Parish and our entire state. The road supports area businesses that drive our economy, our sportsmen who hunt and fish along the Atchafalaya, as well as area residents who need to evacuate during emergencies. This project will improve the road's surface and help ensure a safer commute for the thousands of Louisianians who use the road to take advantage of Sportsman's Paradise and the businesses that use the road to help drive Louisiana's economy."
La. 3177 serves more than 1,700 motorists daily. It is close to the Atchafalaya River and supports the travel of sport enthusiasts from across the state each year. It is home to hunting camps and boat launches that allow for quick access to the river's prime fishing. Additionally, La. 3177 provides direct access to the Atchafalaya Welcome Center which has over 14,000 visitors per month.
The roadway improvements 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 benefit from this project include the Louisiana Sugar Cane Co-Op., the Atchafalaya Crawfish Processor, and Cargill Salt. Work on the project began in July 2013 and is estimated for completion in late January 2014.
The project is part of the Governor's initiative to bond out half of the State Highway Improvement Fund, which will generate $425 million over three years to repair approximately 1,100 miles of rural roads across Louisiana. The projects for the program were selected through DOTD's priority program based on traffic volumes and roadway assessments.
The Legislature passed a bill in the 2012 legislative session to bond out the State Highway Improvement Fund, which was created exclusively to fund state roads classified as Non-Federal Aid routes that are not eligible for federal funding and are mostly rural routes. Often these routes are not eligible for matching funds from the federal government, which means there is less money available to fund projects for rural roads throughout the state.
Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has invested an unprecedented $5.6 billion in Louisiana's infrastructure.