A contract has been awarded to construct a new "Twin Span" from New Orleans to Slidell.
The new bridge is to be built an estimated 300 feet to the east of the existing spans. Officials expect the westbound portion of the new bridge to be open for motorists by 2009, while work on the eastbound lanes should be completed by 2011, he said.
To guard against tidal surges, the new concrete and steel structure will stand some 30 feet above the lake's surface, providing stark contrast to the existing spans, which are 8 to 10 feet above the lake, depending on the fluctuating water level, Lambert said.
This is how it should have been built decades ago. Unfortunately, the new structure will not incorporate gates to keep storm surge from entering Lake Ponchartrain as was suggested by one engineer. Hopefully the Corps of Engineers is reevaluating its plans to build flood gates across the Rigolets (the narrow body of water that connect Lake Ponchartrain with Lake Borne and the Gulf of Mexico) which would be a far less costly option and probably more effective.