The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has suspended toll collections at La. 1 in Leeville in response to the mandatory evacuation of Grand Isle, the agency announced this afternoon.
DOTD says the tolls have been suspended in order to facilitate emergency and protective services and evacuation as Tropical Storm Karen approaches the coast. The agency will make an announcement when tolls are scheduled to resume.
In December, the forecasted revenue for the LA1 toll-bridge will be less than the bill the state owes that month on the borrowed money it took to build it. Toll revenue is by statute bound to pay off the bonds. If the state defaults on the bridge, it could negatively effect the entire state's credit rating.
The LA1 bridge is the only way to access Port Fourchon and Grande Isle by car. The bridge was built after hurricanes wiped out parts of the unelevated road now called "Old LA1."
Evacuation has begun on Louisiana's only inhabited barrier island as Tropical Storm Isaac's path moves west, and was ordered Monday for about 2,000 Plaquemines Parish residents.
Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, suggesting people leave low-lying parts of 15 coastal parishes where the National Weather Service called a hurricane warning. He says that if Isaac remains a threat to Louisiana, he may skip the Republican National Convention.
Mayor David Camardelle has declared a state of emergency for the Town of Grand Isle, and has issued a mandatory evacuation order, according to a statement released by Grand Isle officials.
The statement, issued at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, was enacted due to the tropical storm watch — encompassing the entire eastern Gulf Coast — issued by the National Weather Service in advance of the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac.