New bridge brings new promise | News
NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Those days of waiting in long lines for a ferry to cross the Mississippi River between New Roads and St. Francisville are almost over. The state uncovered a major milestone in the construction of the John James Audubon Bridge, designed to connect Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes.
The bridge is expected to bring relief, progress, and a firm foundation on which Louisiana intends to build. Deputy Director of Construction for Louisiana TIMED Managers, Steven Spoher, said opportunity is knocking.
"The bridge will connect East and West Feliciana Parishes, but more important than that West Louisiana to East Louisiana," Spoher said.
The James Audubon Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western hemisphere. Work began back in 2006, but earlier this year eager eyes got a first look at how the 500 foot towering transit would look when workers started building the spans. Wednesday, the stretch was connected.
"In the past ten years, I would say this is the biggest thing to happen in Pointe Coupee Parish," Pointe Coupee Parish Director of Economic Development Scott Byrd said.
The four-lane mammoth will cut commute times, but Byrd is excited about the doors he says the $408 million dollar investment will open for business.
"This is going to mean increased tourism and a possible increase of retail on both sides," Byrd said.
The project includes 12 miles of new roads leading up to the bridge. Once it is open, it will be the only place you can cross the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and Natchez, Mississippi.
The bridge is not open yet, as construction crews are still working on the deck. It is expected to open by summer.
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