DOTD invites potential partners for project to replace Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 10:59:03 AM
BATON ROUGE -- Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., invited three private companies to submit proposals for delivering to the state the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement project intended to provide a new or a fixed, four-lane bridge to replace the tunnel and moveable bridge on La. 23 in Belle Chasse.

The Public Private Partnership, also known as a P3, allows a public entity by contractual arrangement with the private sector to share skills, assets and risks to deliver a transportation facility for the use of the general public. The private entity selected will enter into a comprehensive agreement for the design, construction, financing, as well as operation and maintenance of the new Belle Chasse structure.

Recently, the state received a $45 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or INFRA, grant from the Trump administration. This grant was one of 26 awarded across the country, among hundreds of applications. These competitive grant funds are committed to the replacement project, as are $26.2 million in federal funds allocated to the Louisiana DOTD and $12 million in federal funds allocated to the Regional Planning Commission. The private partner will provide the remaining funding for the project, which is estimated to cost at least $125 million, not including contingencies.

“The current configuration on La. 23 in Belle Chasse has been in place for more than 50 years and is antiquated and cumbersome, and it’s condition is unacceptable,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson. “The state is currently trying to address its infrastructure needs with a revenue stream from the 1980s. We need innovative funding such as P3s if we are going to modernize our system. This is the state’s first attempt to solicit private partners and it is encouraging for us to reach this point in the process with six really impressive teams as we continue to make progress on this much-needed project. I look forward to discussing the proposals with our partners and making the best decision possible for the citizens and travelers of this region.”

The new bridge will be built on a route that serves as the primary access point to the residents, businesses, and industries of Plaquemines Parish. The anticipated new structure will also benefit the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, port development, and provide more efficient commute times in daily activities and in hurricane evacuations for motorists.

Having been focused on the overall fiscal stability of the state since becoming Governor in 2016, we did not forget about our infrastructure needs,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “This project would not have been possible without the INFRA Grant award and a firm commitment to innovative opportunities presented in the state’s first infrastructure P3, and my administrations philosophy of building transportation infrastructure for the future”.

On April 5, DOTD reported that it received 20 letters of interest for the Public Private Partnership. The notice of intent was published in February. The successful proposal will be identified by June 2019. A contract execution and Notice to Proceed are anticipated by October 2019.

Details regarding the Public Private Partnership, including a list of the teams with the opportunity to propose can be viewed on DOTD website.