Since this blog is ostensibly about bike touring news, here is a newsy sort of a post.
May 5, 2011
Due to the rising Mississippi River causing the closure of the New Roads/St. Francisville ferry, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has opened the John James Audubon Bridge. This emergency opening will accommodate traffic that has lost river-crossing access when the ferry closed. The ferry, which carried approximately 720 vehicles per day according to 2009-2010 DOTD statistics, is permanently closed with the opening of the Audubon Bridge.
So the ferry from New Roads to St. Francisville is permanently closed. The new bridge has been under construction since 2006 and is still not 100% complete, but the Louisiana D.O.T. has determined it is safe to use…at least for cars, it doesn’t say anything about bike lanes. It used to be that if the ferry was not running, which apparently was not infrequently, it meant a 56 mile detour down to Baton Rouge, across a very dangerous bridge, and back up to New Roads or St. Francisville (depending on the travelers direction). So, in a way, the bridge may be a welcome update to the Southern Tier route, although taking the ferry was sort of funky and the dearth of traffic in St Francisville was pretty nice.
The new bridge is south of the ferry crossing location and the bicycle tourist should take SR 10 south instead of north at the junction with SR 420 to the new approach road (eastbound) and they will want to take the Baton Rouge Spur south on US 61 to the new approach road just past the junction of SR 966 (westbound). I don’t know if the Adventure Cycling Association is in the process of revamping these maps, but I’m pretty sure they are on it.