Potential sites for new Mississippi River bridge narrowed to 17

One of the two Mississippi River bridges in Baton Rouge. (File photo)

Officials and consultants with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development have identified 17 potential sites for a new Mississippi River Bridge in the Greater Baton Rouge Area.

A new river crossing to alleviate Baton Rouge traffic has long been a wish of local politicians and residents alike. The most recently built bridge, which connects La. 1 to La. 30, carries more than 100,000 vehicles every day, many of which become snarled in congestion from West Baton Rouge Parish to the I-10/I-12 split. 

The Capital Area Road and Bridge District, which was formed two years ago as a regional board of leaders to spearhead transportation issues, this week received a status briefing from the team studying the bridge project. That team includes the state Department of Transportation and Development and Atlas Technical Consultants, which has a contract to do the preliminary engineering work.   

Kara Moree, a project manager with Atlas Technical Consultants, says the team initially identified 32 proposed sites along the river from Brusly to Donaldsonville and has since eliminated 15 through a round of screening that included navigational analysis, travel demand information and technical bridge parameters. The team also eliminated sites that might contain protected wildlife, public recreational areas and other “sensitive resources,” she said.

District member Eric Kalivoda said funding for the bridge, aside from state and federal funding, will likely come from a toll.

The consultants are now beginning work on a second, more rigorous round of screening that will include public meetings, further traffic analysis, toll and revenue estimation and other considerations. Toll modeling will be a “really big piece” of that round, Moree said. Read the full story from Louisiana Illuminator.