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Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM.
The Huey P. Long Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River in New Orleans, has been named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The designation makes this steel structure one of fewer than 250 ASCE landmarks in the world including the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal and the U.S. Capitol Building. You can find a full list of appointed landmarks on the ASCE website at http://bit.ly/zzA6LK, all illustrating the creativity and innovative spirit of civil engineers.
The Huey P. Long Bridge is now in the final phase of a $1.2 billion widening project. When completed in 2013, the expanded bridge will have an additional travel lane and inside and outside shoulders to each side of the bridge. The total width will more than double the current driving surface to 43 ft wide. The project also includes construction of new elevated bridge approaches and ramps, as well as new intersections with traffic signals at Bridge City Avenue and Jefferson Highway.
(Click on the thumbnail photo to view one of our previous news posts with links to more photos and information about the Huey P. Long Bridge widening project.)
“The ASCE is nationally recognizing what civil engineers in New Orleans have always known,” said New Orleans ASCE President Malay Ghose Hajra, Ph.D., P.E. “The design and construction of the Huey P. Long Bridge was a groundbreaking achievement for our country and the world. We are extremely proud to have played a role in getting this historic recognition for this historic bridge.”
Design of the bridge began in 1926 and at that time, engineers had only limited tools for measuring and calculating, unlike today. They designed the bridge for safety and strength to deal with difficult, sandy soil conditions. It was the first Mississippi River Bridge in New Orleans when it opened in 1935 and the longest railroad bridge in the world for about 15 years. Prior to the bridge being built, railroad cars had to be ferried across the river.
Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long was responsible for the addition of driving lanes for automobiles during construction of the bridge, which began in 1932. He provided the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad with $7 million to build the two narrow lanes in each direction. The lanes were adequate for the types of vehicles and limited traffic of the time, but are not wide enough by current standards.
“Huey Long prided himself on forward-thinking and well-designed infrastructure projects,” said Russell Long Mosely, the great-grandson of Huey P. Long. “Although completed in 1935, the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans remains structurally sound. It serves millions of motorists each year and remains one of the longest and highest railroad bridges in the United States. The family of Huey Long is delighted that this bridge has been designated as a Civil Engineering Landmark.”