Toll could be the key to new bridges
By Jason Browne
The standing joke about the maligned, leaky Belle Chasse Tunnel is to mockingly call it the Belle Chasse Car Wash. But if Plaquemines Parish citizens want to be rid of the Car Wash, they might have to pay a toll. That was one scenario laid out by Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, during an address to the Plaquemines Association of Business & Industry Oct. 25 in Belle Chasse. Wilson was discussing infrastructure projects in Plaquemines, beginning with a new bridge on Highway 23 to replace both the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel with an eye toward the proposed Peters Road Bridge and extension project.
The Peters Road Bridge, which would connect Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes across the Intracoastal Waterway south of Belle Chasse, has been touted by economic development professionals like Sandy Sanders, executive director of the Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District, as the lynchpin to true multi-modal transportation in the parish. But before the state will even consider that new $100 million project, it will have to address the existing issue of the Belle Chasse Bridge (built in 1966) and Tunnel (built in 1955).
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