The new year is bringing free rush-hour tow trucks to help keep traffic flowing on one of the nation's busiest bridges.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says a tow truck will be stationed on the Crescent City Connection Bridge for three hours in the morning and three in the evening on weekdays.
The department says in a news release that the bridge is the nation's fifth busiest, with more than 156,000 vehicles crossing it daily and more than 33 million a year.
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.
Supporters of completing Interstate 49 from Lafayette to New Orleans are working to pull together a nonprofit coalition with a full-time executive director to help move the project forward.
State Sen. R.L. Allain II tells The Advocate two key factors in the renewed push to complete I-49 south will be soliciting more involvement from the industries that depend on the highway and hiring a full-time director to keep the effort focused and on track.
State officials say the White Castle ferry is expected to be out of service another 4-6 weeks.
The state Department of Transportation and development said repairs to the vessel's propeller shaft were expected to be completed by mid-September. But delays in dry docking, the discovery of the need for additional repairs and the landfall of Hurricane Isaac have pushed the estimated return of the ferry to mid-to-late October.
The ferry crosses the Mississippi River between White Castle and Geismar, upriver from New Orleans.
The two-lane stretch of Louisiana Highway 1 that cuts through the marshes of south Lafourche Parish is the only road to Port Fourchon, the oil and gas hub that serves 90 percent of deepwater petroleum operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
When the highway is closed because of high water, as it was for three days during Hurricane Isaac, the industry takes an economic hit.
But, as The Advocate reports, each new storm brings with it the fear that the highway may wash away.