After years and delays, work on Causeway wraps up

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 1:06 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After 15 years worth of discussions and increased tolls, a major Causeway safety improvement project is finally complete. Causeway officials say safety benefits are already being realized.

For two years now, Causeway commuters have had to work around $100 million worth of construction and it wasn’t always easy.

“The rail project should have been completed in August of last year,” said Causeway GM Carlton Dufrechou.

Twelve new three-block-long emergency shoulders were completed last year, but work on 46 miles of guard rails, which raised the old 1950s style guard rails another six inches, had a myriad of problems.

“We started doing some initial inspections and found some problems, there were short bolts in there and we pulled some bolts and found that there was no epoxy to the top of the anchor bolts,” said Dufrechou.

Contractors had to go back and check and reinstall thousands of anchor bolts, delaying the project by another 10 months, but Causeway officials say costs were kept in line.

“We came a little bit under from the emergency lanes but we will be over on the rails so we’re right on target,” said Dufrechou.

Now the work is over. There will no longer be periodic bridge closures for safety improvement work, which Dufrechou says are already paying off, with no more vehicles going off the bridge.

“The rails have been hit seven times since they’ve been up and the project is working,” said Dufrechou.

During construction on this guard rail project, there were as many as 50 people out on the bridge on any given night. With full safety procedures in place, there wasn’t a single injury or fatality reported.

One of the goals of the new emergency pull-out lanes was to reduce rear-end crashes. Dufrechou says those have declined by 30%.

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