For more than 50 years, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway – known to most commuters as simply the Causeway – has provided a 24-mile long shortcut from the North Shore (Mandeville) to the South Shore (Metairie). What is currently the southbound span was the original bridge, opening in 1956 and carrying a $46 million price tag. The second span was completed 13 years later for an additional $30 million.
THE LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN CAUSEWAY will be a bumper-to-bumper parking lot by the year 2012 unless $82 million dollars is spent to rehabilitate, upgrade and add to the existing 24-mile-long structure, the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission was told Friday by its engineering consultants.
A “Master Plan” detailing major rehabilitation to current engineering standards was accepted by the causeway commission for implementation over the next eight years.
“You’ve got two old ladies out there, one’s 36 years old and the other’s 23 years old, and that’s old for bridges,” said Verdi Adams of Gulf Engineers & Consultants.
Adams offered three proposals, including building a third bridge to the west of the original span.
New Orleans was practically an island until bridges were built over Lake Pontchartrain in the 20th Century.
The bridge over Lake Pontchartrain was put together “like an erector set”