Huey P. Long Bridge has new modern flow, hopes to bring smooth traffic

Huey P. Long Bridge has new modern flow, hopes to bring smooth traffic
Photo provided by WDSU.

POSTED: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 5:04am

It’s a symbol of rebirth and resilience finished within budget and ahead of schedule.

 

 

The Huey P. Long Bridge Widening Project was slated to be finished in the fall, but Sunday, the modern, new bridge is open for smooth traffic with no delays and drivers are taking notice.

A ribbon cutting, festive music and the procession of vintage cars comprise the celebration of the completion of a $1.2 billion donation widening project on the new Huey P. Long Bridge.

“[In] 1935, I walked across and back. I was 10-years-old,” said Gloria Tepabchecich, a “35-er” who crossed the bridge and back when it opened in 1935 and returned from Chicago to attend the ceremony.

She recalled Louisiana’s 40th governor nicknamed “The Kingfish.”

“I knew that he was very influential in politics and Louisiana at that time, and I do remember his assassination. It was a shock to everyone,” she said.

Now the landmark bridge has more than doubled in width. The two old lanes were a narrow 9 feet wide. Today the three new lanes in each direction are 11 feet wide with outside and inside shoulders and are able to accommodate 100,000 vehicles a day – twice as many as before.

“This is going to be to Jefferson Parish and the metro area what the Superdome was to Poydras [Street],” Jefferson Parish President John Young said.

Young called the Huey P. Long Bridge a catalyst for huge economic growth and development and a bridge to the future.

“With all the raw, undeveloped land for the future I-49 corridor tying into this, the stars are really aligned for us to more forward and grow and diversify our economy in Jefferson Parish,” he said. “It’s going to open up the Westbank for development. It’s going to create jobs and much-needed revenue for the entire parish and metropolitan area. Everything is on the Eastbank. They’re getting crowded. This will open the Westbank up wide.”

There are high hopes and big expectations as the bridge completes a new chapter, looking toward the future while remembering the past.

 

The Huey P. Long Bridge over the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish will be the subject of a free, day-long symposium Thursday at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans.
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The Huey P. Long Bridge was the first bridge to span the Mississippi River in New Orleans. It’s among fewer than 250 American Society of Civil Engineering National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks including the U.S. Capitol Building, the Eiffel Tower and the Panama Canal.

 

 

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