From two plants, Dolese provided over 200,000 cubic yards of concrete to help construct the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The John James Audubon Bridge spans the Mississippi River between Pointe Coupee Parish and West Feliciana Parish in south central Louisiana.
In May of 2006, ground was broken to begin the construction of a bridge spanning the Mississippi River between New Roads and St. Francisville – the only crossing in the 90 miles between Natchez and Baton Rouge. It was slated to cost around $400,000,000, take four years to complete, and be a marvel of engineering.
The project was an undertaking of Louisiana's Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development. Initial planning and design was completed by Parsons – an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm – in tandem with Flatiron Constructors and Granite Construction.
They constructed scale models, tested the bridge's strength in wind tunnels and produced a design and plan to bring the bridge into being. But they were missing one critical element. What company in Louisiana had the experience, skill and integrity to pour the 250,000 yards of concrete the bridge required?
We knew we were up to the job, and our bid proved it. They chose us, and for the next four years, Dolese Delivered. Working in two shifts, and with pours that sometimes reached 30 hours, our Louisiana team delivered everything from the coffer dams and road segments to the 8,000 psi, pre-cast deck panels. And when the Louisiana sun cranked up the heat, they found a solution to keep the concrete at a relatively balmy 70º – injecting liquid nitrogen.
The bridge was scheduled to open in June of 2011, but nature intervened. In late April, the Mississippi refused to cooperate with expectations, rising to a dangerous 53 feet – forcing the ferry to shut down. After consulting with the contractor group, the local governments deemed it safe to open the bridge prematurely, and on May 5, 2011, the John James Audubon Bridge opened to carry its first official traffic: a school bus full of children from a nearby elementary school.
Included in the plans were ten "bear crossings." The Louisiana black bear is a threatened animal, and these tunnels will provide the bears with an uninterrupted habitat through the wetlands. They can simply travel under the road, avoiding the dangerous traffic above.
"It's how we've done it for more than a hundred years. And how we intend to do it for a hundred more."