AASHTO Journal, 8 February 2013
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials announced Tuesday that a major bridge project in New Orleans will be completed early, opening up entirely to traffic about four months ahead of schedule.
The Huey P. Long Bridge widening project began in 2006 after state officials decided the bridge needed to be widened in order to accommodate the increasing traffic (up to about 50,000 vehicles per day) and the larger trucks now traveling the bridge. The $1.2 billion project, constructed in four separate phases, is set to be completed on budget and in June of this year.
“We are proud to announce the early and on budget completion of the amazing improvements being made to the Huey P. Long Bridge,” said DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas in a statement. “Motorists are already experiencing the benefits as they drive on newly opened ramps, overpasses, and lanes. In June of this year, you will see the total rebirth of this iconic bridge meaning it will be safer, quicker, and easier to get where you need to go.”
The bridge opened in 1935 as the first Mississippi River crossing for both rail cars and automobiles in New Orleans. The bridge stood as the longest railroad bridge in the world. With the new improvements, the bridge has three 11-foot lanes in each direction with wider shoulders. Driving surfaces were more than doubled on both sides of the bridge.