State highway officials opened the new John James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi River at 10:25 a.m. Thursday.
The bridge is open ahead of schedule because of concerns about the rising river’s effect on the New Roads-St. Francisville ferry, which ceased operating permanently Thursday morning.
Richard Savoie, chief engineer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said some work remains to be done on the 1,583-foot-long structure but motorists may see some shoulder and lane closures as the work progresses.
The bridge was slated to open June 1.
The $408 million bridge connects Pointe Coupee Parish with West Feliciana Parish.
Construction began in 2006 and was initially set to open in November 2010. Later, that opening date was shifted to October 2011 and then June 2011.
This is the newest crossing of the Mississippi River in Louisiana and is being built by Audubon Bridge Constructors, made up of Flatiron Corp., Granite Construction; and Parsons Transportation Group, according to DOTD.
The bridge gets its name from John James Audubon, the famous naturalist artist.
Truly an engineering marvel! I can't wait to drive over it the next time I'm over that way. The main span is 1,583 feet long, making it the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere... impressive!