BATON ROUGE — The Federal Highway Administration recently announced a new program aimed at defending against the effects of climate change and the costs of extreme weather events. This new Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program will allocate approximately $134 million over the next five years to Louisiana, with $25 million expected this fiscal year.
This funding will be used for construction projects that will increase the resilience of the state highway system to natural disasters and climate change effects like sea level rise and increased flooding. Projects that will receive this funding are currently being identified; however, some typical improvements will include roadway elevations, scour protection to bridges and improvements to the stabilization of side slopes in at-risk areas, to name a few.
“Louisianans have seen first-hand the impact severe weather can have on our infrastructure,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Flooded roads, overwhelmed pumps, and vulnerable bridges are all too common. This announcement is another step in making critical infrastructure improvements to improve quality of life, increase safety, and grow our economy. I would like to thank President Biden, Senator Cassidy, and Representative Troy Carter for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made this funding available.”
“We have a large number of bridges that stand to be elevated and can benefit from the PROTECT dollars as well as surface streets,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “Whether it’s a large rain or a hurricane or a flood issue, those dollars will tremendously come in handy. Pumping capacity is also essential for life here in Louisiana. It is a good opportunity for us to strategically modernize our pumping capacity to protect citizens, not just in their daily lives, but in their evacuation purposes as well. We see resilience not just as responding to hurricanes, but being better and building back better, but building back smarter as well.”