Monday, December 22, 2008

New Orleans of the Future: 1958

Ground Is Broken for New Mississippi River Bridge
Gigantic Span will Inaugurate New Era in City's History

1 May 1955.  The ground has been broken and construction has begun on the new $65 million Mississippi River Bridge.  Persistence, patience, vision and hard work are making a reality of a dream that began nearly 100 years ago. 

The towering bridge will serve as a gateway to the vast undeveloped territory on the West Bank. It will open the door to immense commercial and population growth in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.

The Mississippi River Bridge Authority, which is directing the building of the monumental structure, estimates that the first cars will rover over the 3 1/2-mile long span by July 1, 1958.  When completed, it will be the longest cantilever bridge in the United States and the third in the world.  

Work has begun on the building of the four large piers upon which the bridge will rest.  In order to secure the firm foundation for the main pier in the river, a giant concrete block as high as an 11-story building will be sunk into the river bottom.  Into the bridge itself will go 40 million tons of steel.

The structure, rising 350 feet above the river, will have two 24-foot roadways and plans include a provision for a fifth lane when necessary.

From the City of New Orleans. Annual Report of the Mayor 1954-1955.  1 May 1955. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.  JS 13.N47

Image above:  Crescent City Connection (formerly the Greater New Orleans Bridge), New Orleans.  Bridges designed by Modjeski and Masters, first completed September 1959; second completed September 1988.  08 2008 by K. Rylance.

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