NEW ORLEANS – Orleans and St. Tammany parishes will witness another sign of hurricane recovery as the new Rigolets Pass Bridge on U.S. 90 (Chef Menteur Highway) opens to local traffic this afternoon, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) said today.
The new $50.5 million project began construction in October 2004 but was delayed eight months by Hurricane Katrina. The new 5,491-foot-long high-rise bridge will be 72 feet at its highest mark, with one 12-foot lane in each direction, and 8-foot outside shoulders. This bridge replaces the old Rigolets Pass Bridge, a 14-foot high, 3,200-foot-long mechanical swing-span bridge with 10-foot lanes and no shoulders.
The old bridge will remain open for marine traffic until it is scheduled for demolition later this year.
The new Rigolets Pass Bridge is only opened to local traffic because the Chef Menteur Pass Bridge, further west on U.S. 90, remains closed while DOTD stabilizes the bridge and fixes its locking mechanism. The Chef Menteur Pass Bridge is expected to be open to traffic in approximately two weeks.