Mississippi River flood

The Port Allen levee taken on Thursday, May 23. 

A coalition of organizations, including the Capital Area Road and Bridge District (CARBD), the Capital Region Industry for Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions (CRISIS) Coalition and the Capital Region Legislative Delegation (CRLD), obtained surplus funding in the amount of $5 million allocated to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) 2020 operating budget. This funding will be dedicated to the initial environmental and engineering work for future construction of a new Mississippi River Bridge.

According to CRLD Chair Representative Steve Carter, “The Capital Area Legislative Delegation (CRLD) came together with all stakeholders involved in this critical project to ensure it moved forward. This was the Delegation’s highest priority of the session and represents a significant step toward alleviating traffic concerns of residents across the entire region.”

Under the leadership of DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Governor Edwards’ administration has dedicated resources to allow this much-needed project to begin an expedited process for obtaining necessary permits for environmental and engineering work. A final route will be selected from five potential sites as this preliminary work is completed. Additional funding will be secured prior to the construction phase of the project.

“We appreciate the commitment of the Capital Region Legislative Delegation in working with us to ensure the new bridge is a priority. We have a great working relationship and look forward to seeing this critical project become a reality,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson.

Last year, Senator Rick Ward authored legislation creating the Capital Area Road and Bridge District and this year worked with Representative Tanner Magee on legislation directing an additional nearly $700 million for infrastructure projects across the state from BP settlement funds.

Among these projects is the widening of Hooper Road between Sullivan Road and Greenwell Springs Road in East Baton Rouge Parish and a 415 connector in West Baton Rouge Parish. This three-mile connector will run between LA 415 at the Lobdell exit and LA 1 between Port Allen and Plaquemine.

“I’m proud of our success this session in gaining critical infrastructure funding in East and West Baton Rouge that will ease traffic for local drivers, as well as those transporting goods that are critical to the nation,” said Senator Ward.

The Capital Area Road and Bridge District and the CRISIS Coalition have worked collaboratively with all parties to ensure initial work can begin as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate the leadership of the CRLD and the support of the DOTD and the administration in making this a reality,” said CRISIS Coalition Executive Director Scott Kirkpatrick.

Next steps regarding the bridge will be discussed at the June 17 meeting of the Capital Area Road and Bridge District. The meeting is open to the public and interested parties are encouraged to attend.

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