The Bayou Barataria Bridge Replacement project was undertaken by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) to replace the existing swing bridge (Louisiana Route 302), with a larger structure that would provide improved public health and safety to the communities of Jean Lafitte and Barataria in Jefferson Parish. Volkert was selected to provide environmental and engineering assessments of the bridge’s sensitive context in advance of the project.
Volkert performed engineering and environmental studies to determine the optimum location, configuration, and clearances required for the replacement bridge. Alternative structures were considered and each design was analyzed for the engineering and structural requirements and was subsequently analyzed for the potential effects on natural resources.
The engineering effort for this project involved conducting a location feasibility study and conceptual design for the replacement bridge based on existing and future use of the waterway by shipping interests. The environmental effort for the project included alternative analyses and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to obtain environmental clearance. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process was performed in accordance with the “Interagency NEPA and Section 404/10 Concurrent Process Agreement for Transportation Projects.” The LDOTD initiated the use of this agreement on the project to limit project delays and the EIS was completed within 23 months.
Environmental field analysis and project documentation included an Alternatives Development and Screening Report; a Wetland Finding Report; a Biological Assessment Report; Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Assessment; Noise Study Report; Social and Economic Report; and Air Quality Analysis. The Biological Assessment Report was prepared to provide species-specific analysis of impact on the following: brown pelicans, bald eagles, piping plovers, West Indian manatees, pallid sturgeons, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. The EFH Assessment was one of the first ever completed for the LDOTD and was accepted by the agency without comment. Agency coordination for the NEPA effort was so complete that major issues were resolved prior to the publication of environmental documents.
Scope of Work: Environmental and engineering studies, Alternate Corridor Studies, Biological Assessment, Potential Impact Assessments, Preliminary Engineering and Conceptual Design, Traffic Study, NEPA Process including Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Agency Coordination, Cost Analysis, GIS, and Comprehensive Public Information/Hearings.