Crews completed the widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge near New Orleans on June 17, bringing the largest transportation construction project in Louisiana history to a close. Even more impressive, the project wrapped up approximately four months ahead of schedule.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) started work on the project in April 2006. Originally constructed in 1935, the bridge featured two narrow lanes in each direction, which drove many drivers to avoid it completely. The new bridge now sports three lanes in each direction, which will double its vehicle capacity from 50,000 to more than 100,000 vehicles per day.
LADOTD also made several safety-related improvements to the bridge: through lanes were all widened by 2 feet; shoulders were added where there were none before—8 ft wide on the outside and 2 ft wide on the inside—and new overpass ramps on both sides of the river to allow motorists to bypass intersections if desired.
The full Huey P. Long Bridge widening project carried a price tag of $1.2 billion. It is one of 16 projects under the Louisiana Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) program, which looks to enact $4.6 billion worth of transportation repairs and upgrades across the state.