METAIRIE, LA (WGNO) — Less than a week into the Trump administration, the Causeway Commission is finding out that the bridge’s $103 million dollar improvement project is now on a priority list for federal funding.
Bridge general manager Carlton Dufrechou says there’s no guarantee that the project will receive any federal funding but it’s encouraging to make a list of the top 50 projects nationwide up for consideration.
Dufrechou says making the list follows two years of work from elected leaders — current and past — at the local, state, and federal levels. He says that while it’s just words on a page at this point, he’s encouraged that the bridge is getting recognition for its critical role in southeast Louisiana for daily commuters and hurricane evacuations.
There’s no word on when the bridge might be selected to receive federal money, so plans will move forward to begin collecting higher tolls on the bridge in May, most likely on a weekend. Dufrechou says that even if the feds help cover the costs, drivers will still have to pay higher tolls to cover the rest of the project’s costs. And again, he stresses that the project may not receive any federal funding in the end.
For a couple years, bridge workers and engineers have been studying ways to make the bridge safer following several accidents that ended with cars going into the lake. Plans include the addtion of new guard rails on the southbound span and emergency lanes between crossovers on both spans.
The higher tolls will increase the fee for toll tag users from $2 to $3. Drivers who don’t have a toll tag will have to pay $5 to head south on the bridge.