Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday marked the completion of the new La. 64 Magnolia Bridge project, connecting East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes over the Amite River.
The project replaced the old two-lane La. 64 Magnolia River Bridge with a new four-lane structure. In addition, La. 64 was widened from Greenwell Springs Road to La. 1019. The new bridge has two 12-ft travel lanes in each direction and 10-ft outside shoulders. Roughly 26,000 drivers travel this bridge daily.
Jindal said, "This project is great news for the Capital Region. The Magnolia River Bridge is a critical route for residents between Livingston and East Baton Rouge parishes. This project will improve safety for drivers, speed up commutes and make the Capital Region more accessible to the rest of the state and the country. Indeed, upgrading our infrastructure not only makes our roads safer for our families and speeds up commutes for our people, but it also helps companies access our cities and towns more easily. That makes our state more attractive for companies who want to invest and create jobs, and it’s why we’ve invested historic amounts to improve our roads and bridges."
The $19.9 million Magnolia River Bridge project was funded through an innovative cash-management plan developed by Jindal and the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) in 2009 to accelerate road work across the state by freeing up $120 million in identified cash balances to advance construction projects from their original bid dates. Gasoline revenue projections vary from year to year, and as a result, project budgets can often be over-budgeted, resulting in unused operational funds and an undesignated fund balance. Funding through the cash management program comes from these over-collected revenues from existing project budgets across the state, which allows dollars to be shifted to other projects.
Jindal said the Magnolia Bridge provides a convenient route for residents of Livingston Parish to commute to jobs in Baton Rouge. Additionally, the governor said the bridge plays an important role in stimulating development along La. 16 between Denham Springs and Watson and provides an alternate route for the trucking industry to and from Baton Rouge.