While riding across the Huey Long Bridge these days, we wonder why such a big and burdensome enlargement project is underway while the Avondale area which it connects to the city of New Orleans is expected to have such a deep economic depression in the future.
We’re referring to the fact that Avondale Shipyards is scheduled to close in 2013, ridding the area of some 5,000 workers and numerous companies that depend upon them for their existence.
The answer, of course, is that the bridge expansion was planned and started before the closure was planned. And it was too far gone for any reversal in course.
But there is some hope that the Avondale area, which is adjacent to St. Charles Parish, will bloom again with other enterprises using the facilities built by Avondale Shipyards. Also, the Tournament Players Club golf course attracts many visitors to the area every year and the NOLA Motorsports racetrack which is now opening is expected to do likewise.
Originally, a separate four-lane bridge next door connecting Avondale with Harahan was considered. It would have been a much simpler project since the burden of stopping and slowing down traffic on the Huey during the expansion would have been avoided.
But the existing bridge expansion should help re-develop the West Bank as a logical extension of the metropolitan area. And it may be a welcomed neighbor to St. Charles Parish if more business enterprises locate there.