A new bridge across the Mississippi River still won’t happen before 2031, and there’s still a question of whether the funding for it will still be there in five or 10 years, a new analysis from trade publication Governing notes.
In a new feature from the publication, which covers issues for local and state governments, Governing examines the current state of Baton Rouge’s bridge project.
The overall cost of the project is likely to reach at least $3 billion, but Governing notes that infrastructure projects of all types are seeing increased labor and material costs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it critical to get the logistics right.
“Everything comes down to sustainable funding, and unfortunately for much of our infrastructure, funding is based on legislative decision-making and policymaking, so it ebbs and flows,” Marsia Geldert-Murphey, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, tells Governing. “That’s really difficult for suppliers and contractors and engineers to anticipate: Is the funding still going to be there in five or 10 years?”
The state has spent around $3.5 million on its contract with Atlas Technical so far, the site reports. Working with the department, the Bridge District, community leaders, river pilots and other stakeholders like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the group narrowed the possible bridge locations down to 10 and later to three.
The state is expected to select a final location this year. Then it will begin detailed environmental study and financing.