NORPC routes $15 million to Belle Chasse tunnel repairs
By Jason Browne
There’s light at the end of the Belle Chasse tunnel. The New Orleans Regional Planning Commission amended its Transportation Improvement Plan at its April 11 meeting to route $15 million to refurbishing electrical and mechanical equipment at the tunnel along with any necessary structural repairs. The project is scheduled to be let out for bid in July 2018. NORPC deputy director Jeffrey Roesel said the tunnel will be closed for an undetermined amount of time while repairs are underway.
The money includes $13.2 million in federal funds. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will pick up the local match, typically 20 percent of the total project cost, via its Transportation Trust Fund, which comes from the state’s gas tax. The project budget also includes another $1.5 million in contingency funding. Scott Morris, a general contractor with Morris Homes Inc. and a four-year Plaquemines appointee to the NORPC, said details about the extent of the work planned for the tunnel are unclear at present. He said work done to the Belle Chasse Tunnel in recent years has not addressed its most signifi cant structural problems.
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