John James Audubon Bridge (Mississippi River)
|John James Audubon Bridge|
|Carries||4 lanes of LA 10|
|Locale||Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana|
|Total length||12,883 feet (3,927 m)|
|Width||76 feet (23 m)|
|Height||500 feet (152 m)|
|Longest span||1,583 feet (482 m)|
|Clearance below||130 feet (40 m)|
|Opened||May 5, 2011 |
The John James Audubon Bridge, completed and opened in 2011, is a Mississippi River crossing between Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes in south central Louisiana. The bridge has the second longest cable-stayed span in the Western Hemisphere (after Mexico's Baluarte bridge) (although its total length is four times that of the Mexican bridge) and replaces the ferry between the communities of New Roads and St. Francisville. The bridge also serves as the only bridge structure on the Mississippi River between Natchez, Mississippi and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (approximately 90 river miles). The bridge conveys Louisiana Highway 10, which is in a concurrence there with the Zachary Taylor Parkway.
The Audubon Bridge corridor includes:
- A 2.44-mile (3.93 km) four-lane elevated bridge structure with two 11-foot (3.4 m) travel lanes in each direction with 8-foot (2.4 m) outside shoulders and 2-foot (0.61 m) inside shoulders
- Approximately 12 miles (19 km) of two-lane roadway connecting LA 1 east of Hospital Road and Major Parkway at New Roads to US 61 south of LA 966 and St. Francisville
- Four new intersections at existing LA 1, LA 10, LA 981 (River Road) and US 61 for entry to and exit from the new roadway and bridge
The bridge became officially connected across the Mississippi River on Wednesday, December 29, 2010. Completion for public use was not expected until June 2011; however, the bridge was opened on May 5, 2011 due to rising water levels on the Mississippi River, which had forced the closure of the ferry connection. The bridge is equipped with special finger type sliding joints in order to accommodate large movements between the decks. These joints, weighing about 24 tons each were designed by International civil engineering firm mageba, and allow a movement of more than 1.2 meters.
The project was constructed by Audubon Bridge Constructors, a joint venture of Flatiron Constructors, Granite Construction and Parsons Transportation Group. The construction manager was Louisiana TIMED Managers, a joint venture of GEC, Inc., PB Americas, Inc., and LPA GROUP INCORPORATED. Upon completion, ownership of the bridge was turned over to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
As a gateway, it is intended to provide highway traffic where centuries of ferry crossings and longer commutes have been the norm.
Artist John James Audubon dedicated his life to painting all of the birds in North America. He painted 32 of his famous works in his Birds of America series while residing at Oakley Plantation at St. Francisville as a tutor to Eliza Pirrie in 1821. Naming the new bridge after Audubon is significant to the project because it exemplifies the importance and preservation of the rich natural history of the region.
In 2011, House Bill 200 was proposed in the Louisiana Legislature to rename the bridge the "Generals John A. Lejeune-Robert H. Barrow Bridge." Proponents of the measure argued that Audubon only spent a comparatively small amount of time in Louisiana and that there already existed a bridge named after him spanning the Ohio River (John James Audubon Bridge (Ohio River)). Additionally, they stated that Generals John A. Lejeune, originally from Point Coupee Parish, and Robert H. Barrow, originally from West Feliciana Parish, who both served as Commandant of the United States Marine Corps were more worthy of the honor. A compromise was reached and the bill was signed into law as Act No. 227, effective August 15, 2011. Per the signed final version of the law, although the bridge still retains Audubon's name, the east approach to the bridge has been named the "General Robert H. Barrow Memorial Approach" and the west approach has been named the "General John A. Lejeune Memorial Approach."
See also 
- Bridge claims record, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, January 2012
- Spiegel Online (In German) 'Es ist noch nicht fertig'
- [dead link]
- Heitman, Danny (2008). A summer of birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0807133302.
- "History of HB200 - 2011 Regular Session (Act 227)". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Fry, Trevor. "Bridge should be named Lejeune-Barrow". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- "Louisiana Act No. 227 of 2011". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Bergeron, Angelle (14 April 2010). "Built Above Wildly Erratic River Levels, Cable-Stayed Giant Rises Over the Flood". Engineering News-Record (New York: McGraw-Hill). Archived from the original on 15 April 2010.
- Wold, Amy. "State Prepares for Water". The Advocate. Retrieved May 5, 2011.