Finding the Millions to save the Billions on Highway 1

Louisiana Highway 1 (LA-1)

Louisiana officials and businesses are having a tough time finding the $371 million needed to elevate 10 miles of Louisiana Highway 1 to protect it from sinking land, rising sea level, heavier rainfall and storm surge, according to a story in today’s Washington Post (“As climate changes, Louisiana seeks to lift a highway”).

The segment of Highway 1 in question connects to the energy hub Port Fourchon – a critical link to more than 15% of the US oil and gas supply. A Department of Homeland Security study found that closure of LA-1 would cut off excess for employees and equipment – effectively shutting down the port and causing $3.9 billion of losses in the Port area and another $2.9 billion in other parts of Louisiana and the US due to supply chain effects.

The electric utility, Entergy, has conducted extensive analysis on the $2 trillion in public and private assets along the entire Gulf

LA-1 During Tropical Storm Bill, June 2003

Coast.  Entergy reports that the Gulf Coast is currently vulnerable to average annual losses of $14 billion due to current weather, increasing to $18 billion in 2030. When expected climate changes are factored into the analysis, projected losses increase to $23 billion in 2030 and up to $40 billion in 2050.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is conducting detailed analysis on the impacts of climate change on Gulf Coast transportation infrastructure. Phase 1 of the FHWA study examined the potential impacts of climate change on transportation systems. Phase 2 focuses on the Mobile, Alabama region, to help regional decision makers understand vulnerabilities and asses adaptation options.

These studies raise important questions that CCAP will address in our Weathering Climate Risks blog about the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors in ensuring that critical infrastructure is fortified to withstand current weather conditions and in preparing for a resilient and prosperous future as the climate changes. Stay tuned and stay in touch as CCAP provides you with timely information about managing weather risks and the economics of climate preparedness.

Source: Swiss Re for Entergy

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