New Orleans, LA- January 19, 2012 – Today, the Council passed Resolution 12-6, authored by District “A” Councilmember Susan Guidry, accepting $1.8 Million in federal funds for the restoration of the historic Magnolia Bridge on Bayou St. John and for the enhancement of portions of the St. Charles Avenue Streetscape.
Councilmember Guidry said, “The Magnolia Bridge is an iconic structure in the Faubourg St. John and Parkview Neighborhoods. This neighborhood and Citywide symbol is in need of repair and restoration. These federal funds ensure that the bridge remains structurally sound for crossing pedestrians and continues as a historic and important touchstone along Bayou St. John. The enhancements planned along parts of St. Charles Avenue will complement the considerable private beautification projects that have been recently completed along this world famous New Orleans street.”
The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) has included both projects in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and designated the projects of regional significance. TIP requires that the City provide 100% of the design, engineering, inspection and a local match of five percent for costs of construction.
The St. Charles Avenue Streetscape Improvements Phase I is designed to increase safety for pedestrians using the streetcar line. The scope of work includes replacement of lamps and updating of poles to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment for residents and tourists using the streetcar line.
The Magnolia Converted Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation Project will repair and upgrade the bridge to allow for a safe pedestrian crossing. The Magnolia Bridge, erected in 1850, was the first permanent bridge over Bayou St. John and was the Bayou’s only span until completion of the Esplanade Avenue Bridge. The bridge connected the City to Magnolia Garden, a German style beer garden. With restored iron work dating to the early 1900’s, the bridge originally swung on its center to allow boats waterway access. In 1936, Bayou St. John lost its status as a navigable waterway, and the swing mechanism on the Magnolia Bridge was stabilized. In 1989, the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association embarked on a three year project to repair the landmark structure.