POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA – The John James Audubon Bridge is now open. AND just like that, the footprint of the Zachary Taylor Parkway is complete.
Representatives of the Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission and the Zachary Taylor Parkway Association were on hand at today’s opening ceremony and were recognized in remarks for their pivotal role in getting the bridge funded.
“This is a great day for the Parkway,” said Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission Chairman, Curtis Jelks. “Today we’ve not only opened the bridge; we’ve literally bridged communities that have been working for 20 years in a regional capacity to promote economic development and tourism.”
The opening of the bridge marks the end of the state’s ferry service between Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana Parishes. Moved up some two months due to rising waters, the John James Audubon Bridge will allow continued movement over the Mississippi River without the ferry.
“We’re told that the bridge is absolutely ready for traffic. Any additional work that needs to be done is minor and won’t cause any traffic disruptions,” said Jelks.
Jelks said that the Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission will now begin to focus on bringing in additional federal funds where available. “We know that we will have increased traffic through the region. With that traffic, we fully recognize that there will be some new challenges. We believe that we have some sections of the Parkway that will need attention more quickly to allow for better passing and access. Now that the Audubon Bridge is open, we’ll have a unique opportunity to bring all the parishes in the Parkway together and start pushing for regional growth and movement.”
The Zachary Taylor Parkway is a 210 mile stretch of scenic roadway following Highways 1 and 10 from Rapides Parish through Washington Parish and ending at Interstate 59 in Poplarville, MS. The Parkway includes eight Louisiana parishes and one Mississippi County. It connects 4 major north-south transportation routes – I-49, US Hwy. 61, I-55 and I-59. The new John James Audubon Bridge is just about the center point of the Zachary Taylor Parkway.