Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on the LA 3241 corridor in St. Tammany Parish. State and local officials attended the ceremony celebrating the construction of a new four-lane highway on the Northshore. This is project is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) Program, which began in 1989.
LA 3241 is a three-phase project, which will create a four-lane highway from the intersection of LA 40, LA 41 in Bush to I-12 in St. Tammany Parish. The first phase, constructed by Brown Industrial Construction, LLC will cost nearly $46 million. Phase one will take place between LA 40/LA 41 and LA 435. The second phase, constructed by James Construction will cost $62.5 million. Phase two will be built between LA 36 and LA 435. The third phase between LA 36 to I-12 is anticipated to go to bid in 2023.
The LA 3241 project was originally part of the Louisiana Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) Program, which consisted of 16 projects statewide and began in 1989 when voters approved a 4-cent increase to the gas tax in order to fund Act 16 of the 1989 legislature. The TIMED Program was later accelerated through the sale of bonds. Two of the major projects of the TIMED Program include the John James Audubon Bridge in Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes and the wider, safer Huey P. Long Bridge near New Orleans. The LA 3241 project is the 15th TIMED project to move forward.
“I am proud to see this project come to fruition,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Creating a brand new highway is an example of what can be accomplished when we have the correct funding sources in place and when our leaders on all levels of government work together. This corridor will provide relief for regional transportation needs and stimulate economic growth in this region.”
“LA 3241 has been discussed for nearly 40 years, but because of lack of funding, it took decades to move forward,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “This new corridor will improve access between I-12 and the northeastern ‘toe’ of Louisiana, as well as provide an additional hurricane evacuation route from the New Orleans and Northshore areas. Infrastructure creates jobs and ignites economic development.”
In addition to the DOTD program funding, making use of the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program, DOTD was able to access $50 million of the HB 578/Act 443 (2019) funds dedicated to the project earlier rather than later, thus reducing the impacts of inflation. Since DOTD is utilizing a TIFIA low interest loan, the state can save approximately $50 million in typical inflation costs due to funding delays. The first loan for the new LA 3241 corridor closed in September 2021. The interest rate for the first phase is .5%. The loan for the second segment from LA 36 to LA 435 will close within the next several weeks.
DOTD plans to use approximately $240 million of TIFIA credit assistance on the following projects: I-12 to Bush, I-49S, the Cameron Ferry, the State-Wide Bridge Program, and LA 415.
“After decades of waiting, it is encouraging to see progress on a physical connection from Washington parish to St Tammany parish,” said Senator Beth Mizell. “New economic and educational opportunities will be more accessible to all citizens. This step makes a long awaited dream of the past a reality for the prosperity for all of our area.”
“After 32 years, we are finally fulfilling the constitutional TIMED Project LA3241 bridging the gap between Washington Parish and Interstate 12,” said Representative Malinda White. “Some said it would never happen and some died waiting for it to happen. 32 years later, TIMED project Highway 3241 becomes a reality.”
“I am thrilled to see this long-awaited project become a reality for all citizens in St. Tammany Parish, especially those in the northeast corridor,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “Once completed, LA 3241 will provide a major connection and economic growth for I-12 to Northeast St. Tammany Parish and all neighbors, businesses and communities in between. I look forward to seeing the progress and completion of LA 3241 and its many benefits to St. Tammany Parish."
Phases one and two are projected to be complete in late 2023 or early 2024, weather permitting.
Construction projects are prioritized by road/bridge condition, urgency of improvements, type/volume of traffic, crash records, unforeseeable emergencies that caused damage, and several other factors.
For more information about these projects, please visit www.dotd.la.gov.