In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the I10 Twin Spans that connect the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain with the southshore. The new, higher twin spans are almost complete and parts of the old bridge are going to be used as a fishing pier. Here's the story from NOLA dot com:
The first phase of the planned fishing pier project at the north end of the Interstate 10 twin spans over Lake Pontchartrain could be open by the end of next year, assuming all of the financial and environmental pieces fall into place as expected.
St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis said Tuesday that he is waiting for the federal government to release the $1 million that it has set aside for the project. He said he believes that expanded access to the lake is important for the parish's economic health -- spurring small business development with regard to fisheries -- and that the pier will provide increased recreational opportunities that will lead to a better quality of life for citizens.
The first phase of the project includes building a 700-foot pedestrian bridge from a jetty that juts into Lake Pontchartrain southeast of Slidell near Lakeshore Estates, then under the new twin spans and finally connecting to the old twin spans that will become the fishing pier, said Suzanne Parsons Stymiest, the parish's spokeswoman.
Davis is pushing to open both the bridge and the eastern span to fishing in 2011, with the western span taking a bit longer to complete, she said.
The Parish Council approved three ordinances last week to keep the project moving forward, including one that allows Davis to enter into a lease with the state for the lake bottom where the parish will need to build the pedestrian bridge. The second ordinance will allow him to enter into an agreement with the state Department of Transportation and Development to use a part of its right-of-way for the project.
The third ordinance will let Davis acquire a parcel near the lake's edge to build a parking lot and other amenities, such as restrooms, for the pier's patrons, Stymiest said. Though the parcel has not been identified, she said it likely will be located east of the new twin spans, near the jetty and the entrance to the pedestrian bridge, she said.
The parish is choosing to build the pedestrian bridge to the east of the new twin spans, and not to the west, closer to the pier, in part because the east side has a better access road to the site -- East Howze Beach Road -- and that doesn't go through a residential neighborhood.
On the west side of the twin spans, the road is narrow and runs through well-populated neighborhoods, Stymiest said. Further, the pedestrian bridge would have to be 900 feet long, or 200 feet longer than if coming from the eastern side of the twin spans.
The parish spent $19,300 to acquire 2,340 linear feet of the eastbound lanes closest to the north shore and 2,275 linear feet of the westbound lanes to use as the pier, Stymiest said. The cost is what the DOTD believes is the salvage value of the concrete, as federal regulations prohibit the state from donating anything with value.
Work already has begun to demolish the twin spans, which were damaged during Hurricane Katrina, now that the new $803 million spans are nearly complete. Boh Bros. Construction Co. remains on schedule to finish the work on the new bridges, which are a few hundred feet to the east of the old spans, by mid-to-late 2011, Lauren Lee, a DOTD spokeswoman, said.
At one point, the parish planned to create the pier using about 2,500 feet of the westbound lanes and perhaps 1,000 feet of the eastbound lanes -- the difference having to do with issues pertaining to the new twin spans. The final design has not yet been determined and may well change, Stymiest said.
Officials still hope to build a crossover to connect the two sides, and people might have to pay a $5 fee to use the pier to help fund the cost of running water to the pier, building and maintaining restrooms, and providing garbage cans. People would not be allowed to drive vehicles onto the pier.