Plans for a new Mississippi River Bridge underway

BATON ROUGE – It’s the same story, a different day: drivers fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge. 

“The traffic is terrible, every day the I-10 bridge is backed up, LA 1 where we live in WBR parish is backed up 2 to 3 miles every day. It’s just a constant traffic thing we need to handle. Prolly should’ve handled it years ago, but we’re still fighting it today,” Riley Berthelot, West Baton Rouge Parish President said. 

One day, the Capital Area Road and Bridge District hope it will become a thing of the past. They held a meeting Monday to further discuss a potential location for a new bridge. 

The general area for the project is based between the Horace Wilkinson, Sunshine Bridge, Hwy 30, and LA 1.

“We felt it was important to allow the data to drive the decisions and to screen the alternatives. And while it’s very tempting for us to say this is probably unreasonable, this is probably not gonna move forward, we didn’t want to be arbitrary, biased, we wanted to let the data drive the decision,” said one member in the meeting. 

So far, 15 of those locations have been eliminated, and 17 remain. They hope to narrow it down to three or four before the next meeting. 

Another part of the conversation included funding for the project. Lawmakers passed the largest infrastructure bill the state has seen in 37 years. 

“Starting in 23-24, we’re going to take 30 percent of the vehicle sales tax that is already existing now but flowing into the general fund……. that amounts to about 148 million dollars,” a senator said during the meeting.

Once the bridge is built, drivers will most likely have to pay a toll to get across. 

“As Senator Ward said, there is gonna be a toll on this bridge. There’s no getting out of that,” Dr. Eric Kalivoda, Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said.

As for these plans coming to fruition, it could be another two or three years before a final decision is made.

You can find more information on the project here

Original Article by Falon Brown • Source: WBRZ