BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says 228 projects equaling a $630.8 million investment were let in 2021. In 2022, DOTD anticipates receiving more funding for projects.

“2021 marked a century of DOTD’s infrastructure investment for Louisiana’s citizens and visitors. While the year was yet another challenging one due to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida, we were able to achieve numerous milestones,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D.

DOTD said it received funding in 2021 through Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds, public-private partnerships, and design-build contracts.

“We’ve started and completed several major projects, and probably the biggest success stories for the department this past year have been the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) by Congress, and the signing of the vehicle sales tax legislation. Our state is set to receive nearly $6 billion in federal funding over the next five years from IIJA, and we will begin receiving at least $150 million in FY 23-24 from vehicle taxes. I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished in 2021, and I’m extremely optimistic for 2022 and the years beyond.”

DOTD said it will be receiving the first sustainable revenue increase in more than 30 years through Act 486, which will appropriate funds to DOTD from vehicle sales taxes annually starting in 2024. DOTD estimates it will receive $150 million in the first year and $260 million in future years.

Crews were hard at work two days following Hurricane Ida’s landfall in 2021 as they reopened interstates and major roadways, assessed damages, and made replacements and repairs to signs and signals. DOTD said 1,500 signals were repaired or replaced.

The hurricane left a major cleanup project for DOTD as crews cleared debris from state roads. With so much storm debris, DOTD launched a removal update website and a call center dedicated to debris-related questions.

As of Jan. 6, 4,009,192 cubic yards of debris along 10,568 shoulder miles has been removed, according to DOTD. The department said this amount counts for 87% of all debris along state roads.

A look back on DOTD projects in 2021

Major projects let/begun in 2021 include:

  • Airport Connector Road and Bridge in Lafourche Parish
  • Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement
  • New College Drive Exit in Baton Rouge
  • LA 1 Intracoastal Waterway Bridge Replacement in West Baton Rouge Parish
  • Phase II of LA 1 Corridor in Lafourche Parish
  • LA 3241 Corridor in St. Tammany Parish

Major projects completed in 2021 include:

  • I-10 Widening from Henderson to Atchafalaya Basin Bridge in St. Martin Parish
  • I-20 Mississippi River Bridge Rehabilitation in Madison Parish

Other accomplishments/achievements in 2021 include:

  • Act 486 of the 2021 regular session mentioned above, which will provide sustainable revenue each year to DOTD from vehicle sales taxes
  • Projects started from funding provided by the $700 million infrastructure bill, passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2019, appropriating money from the BP oil spill settlement to infrastructure, such as the LA 1 corridor and LA 3241 projects mentioned above
  • Other projects expected to move forward in 2022 due to the infrastructure bill include the Cameron ferry landing replacement and a new Ambassador Caffery/U.S. 90 interchange to tie in with the future I-49 south of Lafayette
  • Federal TIFIA loan mentioned above
  • Federal approval for I-10 widening project in Capital Region
  • “Take 10” Litter Pickup Pledge
  • Hurricanes Laura and Delta debris cleanup completion
  • Hurricane Ida debris pickup started
  • I-10 widening in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes wins SASHTO Operations Excellence Award
  • Inaugural Louisiana Airport of the Year and Aviation Professional of the Year awards given
  • The IIJA mentioned above, which will provide approximately $200 million per year over the funding DOTD currently receives beginning this fiscal year
  • DOTD disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) goal exceeded
  • Continued safety improvements statewide

Routine maintenance projects statewide in 2021 include:

Bridges

  • 6,500 inspections
  • 500 repaired
  • 5 replacements

Mowing

  • 390,000 acres
  • $16 million (contract, agreements, and in-house)

Litter picked up

  • 46,000 cubic yards
  • $8.1 million (contract, agreements, and in-house)

Herbicide

  • 110,000 acres
  • $3.3 million (in-house)

Ditch cleaning

  • 410 miles
  • $7.3 million (in-house)