Firm Proposes Record-Breaking Bridge Over Mississippi

Wed March 29, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Audubon Bridge Constructors Joint Venture has proposed the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America to serve as the new Mississippi River Bridge connecting New Roads and St. Francisville.

Audubon Bridge Constructors’ price proposal was made public in early March when the group was identified as the apparent successful proposer for the design and construction of the bridge, which will formally be known as the John James Audubon Bridge. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has 45 days to make a decision on awarding a contract.

“Beginning work on this bridge demonstrates that DOTD is committed to continuing our pre-hurricane construction projects,” DOTD Secretary Johnny Bradberry said. “It is important that we not let the tragedies of Katrina and Rita slow down the work that the public demands.”

Audubon Bridge Constructors submitted the lowest price of $334.7 million. The post-hurricane estimate was $346.6 million.

“I am especially pleased that the lowest price was within our cost estimates,” Bradberry said. “Construction costs have increased sharply since the hurricanes, and we hope the proposed prices on this project are an indication that costs are stabilizing.”

The new Mississippi River Bridge is DOTD’s first design-build project, which means the contractor will design and build the bridge. The apparent successful proposer was determined using an adjusted technical and price-scoring system. The technical review was completed in early February, and the price proposals were opened March 2.

Audubon Bridge Constructors is a joint venture of Flatiron Construction, Granite Construction and Parsons Transportation Group. The group submitted the lowest price on the project and also had the highest technical scores.

Local firms that the group plans to use in the designing and building of the bridge include Boh Bros. Construction of New Orleans, Evans-Graves Engineers of Baton Rouge, Burk-Kleinpeter of New Orleans, GOTECH of Baton Rouge and Rahman & Associates of Kenner.

Audubon Bridge Constructors proposes a cable-stayed bridge which, according to the team, would become the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, surpassing the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in South Carolina which has 1,546-ft. main span. The proposed bridge design is similar to the Mississippi River Bridge in Luling.

The new bridge will replace the current ferry used to cross the Mississippi River in the area. The project includes approximately 12 mi. of roadway approaches and a 2.44-mi. long cable-stayed bridge structure across the river.  The roadway will connect to U.S. 61 in West Feliciana Parish, south of SR 964 and then connect to Highway 1 in Pointe Coupee Parish, east of Hospital Road.

Several community celebrations to welcome the new project are planned within the next few months, including a public groundbreaking at the site of the new bridge. As the project progresses, a public outreach office will be opened in New Roads in the Poydras Building to assist residents and business owners with questions and concerns on the project.

The John James Audubon Bridge is included in Louisiana’s Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) Program — the single largest transportation program in state history. The $4-billion program includes 16 specific transportation projects that include four-laning 536 mi. of state highways, widening and/or new construction of three major bridges and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

The program is designed to enhance economic development in Louisiana through an investment in transportation projects and is funded by a dedicated 4-cents-per gallon gasoline and motor fuels tax.  The program was created by Act 16 of the 1989 Louisiana Legislature and was approved by popular vote. The TIMED Program is 36 percent complete.