Twinspan Bridge ready for reopening later this week

| 1/4/2006

The Twinspan Bridge over Interstate 10 in New Orleans – a major roadway in the region and one of the most visual symbols of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation – is expected to reopen by the end of this week, two weeks ahead of schedule.

The bridge, which was destroyed by a tidal surge after Katrina reached land on Sept. 29, 2005, was scheduled for completion by Jan. 14. However, the New Orleans-based Boh Bros. Construction Co. finished the $30.9 million contract early, with a $75,000 incentive for each day they finished before the project’s deadline.

“From the first day, it’s really required some ingenuity,” Mark Lambert, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation, told the New York Times. “They’ve constantly had to improvise.”

On Oct. 14, traffic was opened in both directions on the eastbound section of the bridge, 28 days after Katrina’s onslaught.

“This is a magnificent milestone,” said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who appeared at the bridge with U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta for the initial reopening. “We would never have thought that we would have to be reopening this span that has connected our worlds so profoundly. We lost the momentum of our lives.”

Although damage to the Twinspan Bridge was a major project in the area’s revitalization, it pales in comparison to the bigger picture. Louisiana Transportation Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry estimated before the United States Congress a cost of $5.5 billion to repair the air, road and rail transportation infrastructure in the state.