Lake Pontchartrain Bridge Set To Reopen
SLIDELL, La. (AP) — In the four months since the U.S. Highway 11 bridge over Lake Pontchartrain closed for repairs, the owner of Michael's Restaurant halted lunch service, and borrowed money to stay in business.
Michael Frederic said that, in the end, he "gave it to God," in the hope he would make it through.
The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/KfLP0p) the bridge, closed since January, will reopen on Monday.
Frederic said his restaurant on the lake's north shore lost about 70 percent of its business while the bridge was closed.
The bridge connects St. Tammany Parish with the swampland of New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain's south shore.
South of Slidell, most of the businesses along U.S. Highway 11, also known as Pontchartrain Drive, suffered when the state Department of Transportation and Development closed the bridge to replace the concrete guardrails that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
Officials expected that the $5.6 million project.
While Frederic said many of his customers come from New Orleans and travel the old, two-lane bridge to his restaurant, Amelia Mims relies on it to get to and from her job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Orleans.
Mims lives in the north shore's Eden Isles development. She says it's more convenient to take the U.S. Highway 11 bridge than the rebuilt Interstate 10 twin spans.
"I'm really glad they're making improvements to the bridge and not abandoning it," Mims said, noting that the U.S. 11 bridge remained intact when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 while the original twin spans collapsed. "I have a lot of love for the old bone-shaker."
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com