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Project Profile: Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement

Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement - Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana

photo credit: Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

Location

Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

Program Areas

Project FinanceTolling and Pricing

Mode

Bridge

Description

The Belle Chasse Tunnel and Judge Perez Bridge serve the 23,000 residents of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The Belle Chasse Highway (LA 23), located about eight miles northwest of New Orleans, is approximately 1.4 miles from LA 3017 to LA 406. The corridor is four lanes with a raised median except at the Perez Bridge and Belle Chasse Tunnel. The movable Perez Bridge was constructed in 1967 and the Belle Chasse Tunnel in 1955. The LA 23 corridor has a current traffic volume in excess of 33,000 vehicles per day and is a primary access point to the residents, businesses, and industries of Plaquemines Parish. The planned replacement will benefit the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station, while providing more efficient commute times in daily activities and hurricane evacuations for motorists.

Currently, the tunnel carries southbound traffic under the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, while the bridge carries traffic in the opposite direction. However, the tunnel often leaks, forcing the old bridge to be converted to two-way traffic. The replacement project will provide a new mid-level, fixed-span, tolled bridge carrying traffic in two directions and reducing the delays associated with operations and maintenance of the older infrastructure.

In December 2017, the Louisiana Joint Transportation Committee approved the use of a public-private partnership contract to deliver the replacement project. In February 2018, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) issued a Notice of Intent seeking letters of interest from private companies. In June 2018, DOTD shortlisted three teams to submit proposals for the concession, and in May of 2019, DOTD received a proposal from a single bidder. DOTD is considering the single proposal and anticipates reaching a decision on a path forward later in the year.

Cost

$148 million (construction cost including right-of-way, utility relocation, professional services, and 10% contingency)

Funding Sources

Public Funding

  • USDOT Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant - $45 million
  • National Highway Performance Program (Federal funds) - $26.2 million
  • Regional Planning Commission (Federal funds allocated to the MPO) - $12 million
  • GARVEE Bond Proceeds - $12 million
  • Toll Revenue Bonds: $52.84 million

Private Financing

  • To be determined
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-build-finance-operate-maintain toll concession

Private Partner

To be determined

Project Advisors / Consultants

To LADOTD

  • KPMG - Financial Advisor
  • Nossaman - Legal Advisor
  • HNTB - Technical Advisor
Lenders

Bondholders

Duration / Status

Private teams responded to an RFQ in May 2018.

LADOTD shortlisted three teams in June 2018.

One proposal was received response to the RFP in March 2019.

The bridge is expected to open in 2022 or 2023.

Financial Status

The $12 million in GARVEEs were part of a $185 million issuance in April 2019. Private financing for the project is to be determined.

Innovations
  • The project is LADOTD's first P3, paving the way for the delivery method to be used in transportation projects across the state.
Related Links / Articles

LADOTD Project Webpage

P3 Press Release

Notice of Intent

Project Article (The Bond Buyer)

Proposal Presentation

Contacts

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
ABTR-BelleChasse@la.gov

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