Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

The end of summer means back to school, back to the grindstone, back from vacation. And for millions of birds, it means time to fly south for the winter.

One particular type of bird — the purple martin — has spent the summer preparing for that journey under the Causeway bridge. Right where the south shore connects to the Causeway, tens of thousands of the birds have maintained a roost, with a second roost further along the bridge. They sleep under it, flying in right at sunset. The last summer stragglers are now getting ready for their flight south.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway commuters should see the new year get off to a good start with an expanded north shore toll plaza.

At some point in January, bridge General Manager Carlton Dufrechou tells The Times-Picayune a fifth tollbooth and lane should be open for business at the Mandeville end of the bridge, helping the flow of traffic getting onto the 24-mile span.