"...improvements will involve cleaning and painting the entire bridge, both the steel and concrete portion..."
Monday, November 26, 2012
BY: Robin Shannon, Staff Writer
The Young Leadership Council and the state are working together on a project that will give a facelift to the New Orleans Terminal Railroad Bridge in time for the Super Bowl.
Most motorists don’t know it by that name, but anyone making their way to or from downtown passes under the bridge across Interstate 10 at the parish line near Metairie Lake Lawn Cemetery.
YLC member Christopher Kane, who spearheaded the project, said the improvements will involve cleaning and painting the entire bridge, both the steel and concrete portions, and replacing the interstate signs mounted to the bridge structure.
Once the cleanup work is complete, Kane said the YLC will provide vinyl wraps with the organization’s “Proud to Call It Home” message, the City of New Orleans’ seal and the Super Bowl 2013 logo to adorn the bridge.
Kane said YLC has a $10,000 contract with Crystal Clear Imaging of New Orleans for design and production of the logo art.
The project is similar to a cleanup effort on the bridge done in 1997 prior to Super Bowl XXXI. Kane said he has been working to get the current project off the ground since 2008, following a trip to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.
“When I went there in 2007, I noticed that the city worked to drape some of its older eye-sore buildings with huge images of historic Louisville,” Kane said. “Some of the posters also featured prominent figures in the town’s history.”
Kane said the focus was put on the railroad bridge because it acts as a gateway into the city for visitors coming into town from the airport. After months of trying to wrangle the key players involved â€” City Hall, the state Department of Transportation and Development, and Norfolk Southern Railroad â€” the project was cleared this year when DOTD agreed it should be prioritized.
Kane said he hopes the YLC will be in a position to update the bridge faÃ§ade every few months relative to other events the city hosts. DOTD spokeswoman Bambi Hall said the state will continue to maintain the bridge.
The $700,000 project gets under way tonight. Astron General Construction of Jacksonville, N.C. was awarded the project through a competitive bid process conducted last month, Hall said. All work will take place at night, she said, and the structure will be covered with a tarp in order keep the workspace around the bridge clean.