BATON ROUGE – Toll collection will resume Monday on the Crescent City Connection bridge and ferries, the state Department of Transportation and Development announced today.
Tolls will resume at 5 a.m. Monday on the 2.75-mile spans that cross the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans, according to Randy Paisant, assistant director of the Crescent City Connection Division. Tolls will be waived for National Guard and emergency vehicles, he said.
DOTD Secretary Johnny Bradberry noted that the state halted toll collection before evacuations began on Aug. 26 – six weeks ago. The state had only three weeks’ insurance coverage for service interruption, and the toll revenue is used to pay for operations, including employee salaries.
Neither FEMA nor the Federal Highway Administration will reimburse the state for lost toll revenue, Bradberry said.
Pre-Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City Connection route (including the Pontchartrain and Westbank expressways) was the second-highest traffic corridor in the state, with about 90,000 vehicles traveling one way a day, for a total of 180,000 vehicles. (The highest traffic corridor in the state was the area of the I-10/ I-610 split in New Orleans.)
Meanwhile, two of three ferries operated by the Crescent City Connection also will resume collecting fares on Monday as well. The Gretna/Jackson Avenue and Algiers/Canal Street ferries resumed operation on Sept. 16, but had not been collecting tolls. A third ferry, Lower Algiers/Chalmette, is out of service because of storm damage.