Big bridge, broad shoulders: construction starts on Pontchartrain Causeway

February 28, 2019

Recently the New Orleans Times-Picayune ( reported that construction has begun on the $53 million shoulder-addition project for Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. Volkert is providing construction administration for this, the first bridge in Louisiana to use Construction Management At Risk project delivery.

The project entails building 12 bays, each 1,008 feet long by 16 feet wide, along the outside of both spans, six per side at regular intervals. The objective is to give motorists a safe place to pull out of the main flow of traffic in the event of an accident or breakdown. These bays provide an intermittent shoulder along the nearly 24-mile Causeway in both directions, far less expensive than full emergency lanes.

In 2017, Volkert presented the winning design and estimate for constructing the project to the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission, who then selected Volkert as the design engineer. But the firm’s history with the Causeway goes back more than 50 years, when Volkert designed the northbound span in 1969. This shoulder project represents the most significant construction performed on the Causeway since then.

(Photos courtesy of the Times-Picayune)