Edwards, Legislature Commit Funds for Infrastructure
NEW ORLEANS — From the Port of New Orleans:
The recent 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature committed $96.595 million to aid expansion projects at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal and Jourdan Road Cold Storage Terminal, along with new transportation projects in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes, all with the goal of driving international trade, while preparing for future growth.
“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, we thank Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Legislative leadership, and our delegation members from Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes for their vision and support,” said Brandy D. Christian, president and CEO of Port NOLA and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “Together, these projects will position Port NOLA to take full advantage of current cargo opportunities, including serving as an alternative gateway to the West Coast, while preparing infrastructure to meet the needs of tomorrow.”
New projects include the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, which will build an elevated roadway on the backside of the Forty Arpent Canal from the future Louisiana International Terminal in Violet, Louisiana, to connect with I-510. The Legislature committed $50 million to begin the project, which includes the planning, design and engineering for the roadway.
With demand for containerized cargo projected to continue to grow globally, Port NOLA is investing in its existing maritime assets, while also planning for the future with the $1.5 billion Louisiana International Terminal — a new container facility in St. Bernard Parish that will keep Louisiana competitive among other Gulf states, and create jobs and opportunity for the region and the state.
“The St. Bernard Transportation Corridor project will provide multiple benefits, including a route to efficiently handle cargo entering and leaving the new terminal,” Christian said. “This new infrastructure will also support St. Bernard Parish population growth, attract and retain industry, reduce emissions by alleviating congestion, and provide an alternate hurricane evacuation route for residents.”
In Orleans Parish, the Legislature committed $30.5 million for the complete rehabilitation of the St. Claude Avenue Bridge. The bridge is a 102-year-old bascule bridge crossing the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock, connecting the Mississippi River to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The project is critical to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vehicular and maritime traffic. Approximately 21,000 vehicles use the bridge daily, along with pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge also serves as a hurricane evacuation route for residents. The project will effectively rebuild the bridge in place while also installing advanced traffic warning signs, and widening pedestrian and bicycle pathways.
On the Riverfront, the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal Container Crane Expansion Project received $8.1 million, which completes the Legislature’s $28.1 million commitment to the overall $120 million project. The investment is highlighted by four new 100-gauge container gantry cranes, which arrived in December. The four new cranes, which will be operational next month, are essential to Port NOLA’s overall plan for the gateway, which includes optimizing facilities in New Orleans and building the new terminal in St. Bernard Parish. The new cranes will more efficiently service larger ships, complement the terminal’s two existing 100-foot-gauge container cranes and allow Port NOLA’s three 50-foot gauge container cranes to service smaller vessels and the Port’s environmental award-winning container-on-barge service between Memphis, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
In New Orleans East, $7.995 million is committed to the completion of Lineage Logistics’ $49 million expansion of Port NOLA’s Jourdan Road Cold Storage Terminal. The investment completes the State’s $11 million commitment to the project. One of two major Lineage facilities at the Port of New Orleans, the cold-storage complex at Jourdan Road along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal will grow from 160,000 square feet to 304,000 square feet.
The company will retain 188 existing Louisiana jobs with the new project, while creating an estimated 50 new direct maritime and warehousing jobs with an expected average annual pay of $61,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 56 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 100 new permanent jobs in the region. The project will support economic development across Louisiana, serving the State’s $1.6 billion poultry industry, including more than 300 commercial broiler producers throughout 11 parishes. Lineage and Port NOLA have worked closely on this project to accommodate growing export poultry volumes and new lines of export agriculture commodities, along with a growing trade of fresh produce imports. Completion is expected in July 2022.
In addition to the recent state investments, Port NOLA is moving forward on the $44 million rehabilitation of the Almonaster Bridge across the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal. The project will rebuild the bridge in place and return vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle access, reconnecting Old Gentilly Road for the first time since 2005. The project received $20 million in federal highway funds and a commitment of $1.5 million from the City of New Orleans; Port NOLA will fund the remainder.