Engineer proposes Tchefuncta River toll bridge to ease Madisonville traffic

Engineer proposes Tchefuncta River toll bridge to ease Madisonville traffic

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Madisonville resident is stepping up his efforts to build a toll bridge across the Tchefuncta River. He hopes it will alleviate one of the major traffic jams on the North Shore.

The North Shore is the scene of daily backups extending a mile or more, but a Madisonville electrical engineer says he’s got a plan.

“The primary objective is to help Madisonville and bring a higher level of efficiency for people,” said Clifton Royston.

He went before the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon (March 13) to push a proposal which he and residents say is long overdue.

“Horrible. At certain times of the day, I-12, if there’s a problem, all the traffic flows through Madisonville,” said hardware store owner Bonnie Boettner.

Royston proposes a 1.4-mile elevated bridge that would extend from Highway 21 near Acosa Shipyard to the east, across the Tchefuncte, and come out on Highway 22 near Fairview Riverside park.

“My solution would require some egress through the park. It’s undeveloped,” said Royston.

But some have concerns about the impact on the precious wetlands that define the riverfront community

“I think it’s a serious issue. This area, from an ecological point of view, is pristine,” said Boettner.

“There’s not a lot of land available,” said Royston.

The proposed bridge would not go through Madisonville, but it would impact the town. Madisonville‘s mayor says he’s watching developments closely, and he and others hope to ultimately have a voice in the project.

This proposal still has a long way to go. Royston believes a task force should be formed to properly investigate a solution to the twice-daily traffic backups.

Royston predicts the proposed bridge would cost around $150 million and require tolls of a dollar or two each way

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