The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) recently announced the award of a contract for Phase 1 of the Huey P. Long Bridge widening project over the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish.
Massman Construction Co. of Kansas City, Mo., was awarded the contract for Phase 1 with a bid of $83.1 million—the lowest of three bids. Since all three bids opened Dec. 14, 2005, and were above the DOTD pre-Katrina estimate, a special review was undertaken prior to the award.
DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry said, “Awarding the first contract for the Huey P. Long Bridge widening project is a significant milestone for the TIMED Program, DOTD and the New Orleans area.
“Despite the increased costs, DOTD is committed to continuing progress on pre-hurricane planned transportation projects while also rebuilding and restoring transportation corridors affected by the hurricanes.”
Hurricane Katrina has had a significant impact on construction costs and schedules around the Gulf Coast. It has increased the demand for contractors, equipment and supplies, which is driving up costs across the southeastern U.S.
“The Huey P. Long Bridge is vital to the infrastructure of Jefferson Parish and the surrounding New Orleans area, and this project remains a priority for Louisiana,” Bradberry said. “We’re looking forward to breaking ground.”
Phase 1, which should begin in March, will include widening and strengthening the bridge substructure. Drivers should not see any significant construction-related delays because the contractor will perform most of the construction from beneath the bridge.
The completed project will include three 11-ft lanes in each direction, along with new inside and outside shoulders across the bridge. The project also will include construction of new roadway approaches that will provide signalized intersections at Bridge City Avenue and Jefferson Highway.
The remaining three phases of construction are expected to be let within the next year.
As the project progresses, a public outreach office will be opened in Jefferson Parish to assist residents and business owners with questions and concerns on the project. Additional information is available on the project website, www.hueypbridge.com.
The widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge is one of three major bridge projects included in the TIMED Program the single largest transportation program in state history. The $4 billion program includes 16 specific transportation projects that include four-laning 536 miles of state highways; widening and/or new construction on three major bridges; and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
The program is designed to enhance economic development in Louisiana through an investment in transportation projects and is funded by a dedicated $0.04 per gal gasoline and motor fuels tax. The program was created by Act 16 of the 1989 Louisiana Legislature and was approved by popular vote. The TIMED Program is currently 36% complete.