New national civil engineering landmark

Posted in: Cultural Resources


The structure on the right is the original 1956 causeway bridge.
The structure on the right is the original 1956 causeway bridge.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana is one of the nation’s newest National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the structure is nationally important for its innovative construction techniques.

Completed in 1956 to connect St. Tammany Parish to the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, the nearly 24-mile long Causeway was the longest continuous concrete bridge at the time of its construction. However it is the structure’s revolutionary construction methods that contribute to its engineering significance. It was the first bridge to be constructed using 54-inch prestressed concrete piles which were larger and stronger than the norm and it was the first bridge to employ mass-production, assembly line techniques for construction where components were built on shore and taken by barge to the bridge site. An amazing feat of construction that was completed in just 14 months.

I was fortunate to see this amazing bridge as part of our work on  state’s historic bridge inventory project for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.  Information on the project is available here.

 


Christina Slattery

About the Author

Christina Slattery specializes in historic preservation of transportation and engineering structures. She evaluates the significance of properties ranging from missile defense systems to road corridors, and develops creative mitigation strategies for projects.

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