Locations for new Mississippi River Bridge expected to be narrowed in early 2020
BATON ROUGE – The Capital Area Road and Bridge District, formed in 2018, met Monday at the State Capitol. While the agenda mostly focused on housekeeping items, significant steps towards a new Mississippi River Bridge could be just months away.
“This is the best effort I’ve seen to kind of set this thing in tone to where we can see steps made in the right direction, West Baton Rouge President, Riley Berthelot said.
The district’s chairman, Jay Campbell, told WBRZ he expects possible locations for a new bridge to be narrowed in the first quarter of next year. Previously five locations have been discussed for the project, all connecting LA 1 on the west to Highway 30 on the east.
“If we could narrow that location down, then things start moving in an organized manner,” Berthelot said.
Once the district has a better idea of where a new bridge would go, more planning can take place.
“We narrow it down to one option or two we’ll do the economic impact,” Berthelot said. “They’ll look at the modeling of traffic of those projects and of course the cost.”
In addition to location, the price tag for a new bridge, expected to be between 800 million and 1 billion dollars, is a concern for the district.
“I think we need multiple sources of funding,” Berthelot said. “Tolls would be a big factor in this, but tolls alone is not going to pay for it.”
Officials are also looking at taxes for the capital area parishes that make up the district and a possible statewide gas tax. They’re also hoping for federal funding to become available.
Right now, the district is working on hiring a project consultant. Interviews will take place in December.
Even with a new bridge likely years away, Berthelot says the district must continue working towards the end goal.