The Plenary Infrastructure team began managing all operations and maintenance of the existing Belle Chasse Tunnel and the Belle Chasse Bridge in April 2020. Construction of the new replacement bridge will occur 2020-2024. When the new bridge opens in Spring of 2024, both vehicular and marine traffic will offer free flowing access, since the height of the bridge will no longer require the opening/closing that previously caused traffic delays for vehicles and marine vessels. Tolling will begin upon the opening of the new bridge, and toll structures will not require vehicles to slow or stop as they cross the bridge.
Before the new bridge opens, the Plenary team will distribute transponders at numerous public venues and provide training or installation for area residents. The transponder is vehicle specific. However, if you have multiple vehicles you would like to have billed to one account (in your household, or at your business) that can be arranged. Each vehicle will still need to have its own transponder to avoid being tolled at a higher rate. Transponders will tie to specific accounts set up in an easy-to-use system accessible on a mobile device. Residents wishing to set up accounts by phone will be able to do so as well.
At the time of the bridge opening in 2024, toll rates for local autos with transponders (which will be provided to residents at no cost) will be $.25 per crossing. Vehicles traveling in each direction on the bridge will be charged the toll matching their category. If the vehicle does not have a transponder, they will be tolled at the “Non-AVI” rate for that category by an invoice to the address at which their license plate is registered.
Certain groups are exempt from tolling (see FAQs). For all other groups, the toll will increase by one penny per year, and two pennies in every fifth year of the 30-year tolling period. The toll amounts also will vary by the Consumer Price Index, rising or falling by the average CPI each year.