Public opinion sought on Belle Chasse bridge replacement Vote for your preference at www.senatorheitmeier.comFeb 12th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: top story
On February 26, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., a hearing will be held at the Belle Chasse Auditorium as part of the Environmental Assessment to replace the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel. This important step of the Environmental Assessment is to obtain comments from the public on which of three alternatives varying in height they believe is best for the community.
Alternatives on the new bridges range from lift bridges at levels of 60- or 70-feet above the waterway to a fixed span 100-feet above the waterway. The higher the bridge, the
more land that is required for approaches. That means more residences and businesses would require re-location and more road closures and re-routing traffic would be required.
Early estimates of costs vary from $170 million to $201 million depending on the structure height and type. State Senator David R. Heitmeier, O.D., an ardent supporter
of replacing the antiquated bridge and tunnel, says traffic and the bridge and tunnel replacement as has continually been the number one concern of his Plaquemines constituents.
Heitmeier has solicited opinions from Plaquemines residents through his newsletter that is emailed to voters periodically. And now people can vote on his website for the
alternative they prefer.
“I think it is very important that the wishes of the residents be heard,” said Heitmeier. “We’re talking about spending $170 million to $201 million of local, state and federal
dollars and constructing a project for the next 50 or more years. It’s important that we get as much public input as possible and that we get it right.”
While every option causes some dislocation and traffic re-routing requirements, the 100-foot fixed bridge at 1.05 miles long and would be fixed is more impactful that the 60 foot lift bridge, which would be .75 miles long and opening about once a day.
The current Belle Chasse lift bridge is 40-feet above the waterway when in the closed position and 100-feet when fully raised. It averages about 10 openings per day with an
average operation taking seven minutes. While not a scientific survey, Heitmeier believes it should be a fair glimpse into what residents are thinking. The survey remains open and anyone who has not voted is encouraged to visit www.senatorheitmeier.com and click on the link which says “Tell Senator Heitmeier What You Think.”
Cost estimates include closure and removal of the existing bridge and tunnel.
The railroad bridge is privately owned; currently it lifts to a 100-foot clearance and is not part of the improvements. Additional information on the project can be found at