A pedestrian bridge leading to the new Canal Street ferry terminal came a step closer to fruition Tuesday, delighting Algiers residents who have worried that their commutes otherwise could be delayed by slow-moving trains on the riverfront railroad tracks.
The board of the Regional Transit Authority approved a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Audubon Commission and the city of New Orleans to move ahead with construction of the $7.3 million bridge.
Officials also said Tuesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has green-lighted the project, completing a lengthy permitting process.
Construction of the bridge, which will take ferry riders over the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad tracks, is part of a larger $39 million project for a 5,000-square foot ferry terminal that will connect to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration has pushed for the terminal to open before he leaves office next year.
Algiers residents balked at the initial design of the terminal — and opposed demolition of the existing terminal — saying that without a pedestrian bridge, they might miss the ferry or be made late for work while waiting for a train to pass.
The new terminal is intended to make for a more open riverfront and to serve as a hub for other riverfront developments, such as the Four Seasons Hotel being built in the nearby former World Trade Center building.
Funding for the bridge, being designed by Manning Architects, will come from the city's capital budget, bond proceeds and federal money the RTA has received.
The city set aside $5 million from its capital budget to cover the bulk of the bridge's construction. The Audubon Nature Institute recently agreed to allow the city to use some of Audubon's land to build the bridge.