Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

St. Francisville Ferry

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.

The new bridge at New Roads/St. Francisville, LA

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.

Taking the ferry from New Roads, LA to St. Francisville

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.

14 comments… add one
  • Donna Graham May 7, 2011, 11:43 pm

    I tried to cross the Mississippi River bridge at St. Francisville today and was stopped. Was told that it was illegal. What are the guidelines in determining if a bridge is safe for travel? There is adequate room, 2 lanes on either side with a wide shoulder?

    • Bike Hermit May 8, 2011, 10:55 am

      Who stopped you? I will attempt to contact the LA DOT tomorrow to ask about bicycles on the bridge.

    • perry templeton May 8, 2011, 2:39 pm

      i live in this area. i’ve been a warm showers host for over ten years. i’m so sorry you had that experience with someone telling you to not ride the bridge. It IS safe. In fact our local attentive bike club president worked with bridge builders and the shoulders were built to be bike friendly. sometime officers are a bit too quck to tell cyclists what they can or can’t do. (remember last summer there was an officer in west texas, on the southern tier, who terrorized cyclists and caused all kinds of grief)

      i will try to find the right person to indeed confirm that the bridge is doable. I’ve driven it, i haven’t ridden it, but i drove it simply for observation to be able to tell cyclists that it’s fine.

      i will say, that if a cyclist runs into trouble and needs me, i can be reached through email or warmshowers.org…

      tailwinds and blue skies.


    • perry templeton May 9, 2011, 6:58 am

      hi donna..i’ve gotten the number of our bicycle/pedestrian coordinator in the state..to relate your story to him, my liason has said that if we have specifics (name, situation, date/time, etc) that it will hold more weight than just a random no name cyclist.

      i am confident that the bridge is safe, i am thinking that you had the bad luck to encounter an over zealous officer who thinks bicycles aren’t worthy…

      my email is cajunpedaler@gmail.com

      warmshowers host in jackson la
      tailwinds and blue skies.

      • Kevin Tinto May 16, 2011, 8:08 am


        We’re headed for St. Francisville mid june on the Southern Tier. How does it look getting through to BR?


        • Bike Hermit May 16, 2011, 10:14 am

          The Army Corps has opened the Morganza spillway to divert flood waters from Baton Rouge and New Orleans. According to this Army Corps map it looks like much of the Southern Tier route between Morganza and Simmesport will be under water. I would recommend contacting the LA DOTD and one of the several Warm Showers hosts in the area before you go.

  • Bike Hermit May 9, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Here are some photos of and a short article about the new bridge at crazyguyonabike

  • Don Weinell May 9, 2011, 8:47 pm

    I crossed the Audubon Bridge today for the first time and was dissappointed to find that diagonal rumble strips had been placed on the shoulders. All along, area bicyclists were told by the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) that this bridge was designed to be “bicycle friendly”. The rumble strips, however, force cyclists to ride in the traffic lane. As for being “illegal” to ride on, this is the first I’ve heard of this. I too will check with DOTD, but I suspect it will just take time for the local authorities to get up to speed on the new situation. Both bridges in Baton Rouge are off limits to cyclists. One is an interstate bridge, and the other has no shoulders whatsoever (it’s dangerous enough in a car!)

  • Donna Graham May 9, 2011, 11:38 pm

    Thanks for everyones feedback. The matter has been resolved, cyclist are now allowed to cross the Audubon Bridge as of 5/8/11. Officer was only doing what he had been instructed to do. He even let us know of the change. I will attempt to make the crossing again. The bridge is beautiful, orange cables against the blue sky. Proud to show it off to fellow cyclist! I was surprised by the amount of vehicles at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

    What is the correct way to cross this particular bridge with rumble strips on shoulder? Am I allowed to stop at any point on the bridge?

    • Donna Graham May 13, 2011, 5:36 pm

      Workers have begun to remove rumble strips on the top of the bridge. Hopeful that plan includes to remove strips on small bridges that lead up to it as well.

      • Bike Hermit May 13, 2011, 7:25 pm

        Thanks for the updates.

        • perry templeton May 19, 2011, 4:56 pm

          i crossed the bridge today. and lo and behold, the diagonal reflector strips are GONE..both sides. and on all the access bridges leading to the main bridge. Gone, gone gone.

          on behalf of cyclists, who ever was instrumental in talking with the correct people..good job.

          warmshowers host in jackson la

          • Bike Hermit May 19, 2011, 6:43 pm

            Nice! Thanks for the update Perry.

  • Richard St. Romain August 2, 2017, 1:57 pm

    Hello Perry & Lep,
    Dick St. Romain here. I’ve not been bicycling last few years. (I do work out in my gym, spinning bike, etc.) I was looking at some activities on the internet about bicycling across “The Bridge” vs. the Ferry in St. Francisville. Questions:
    1. Does that bridge cross the Mississippi river?
    2. Is it called the “John James Audubon Bridge”?
    3. Is it on highway-10?
    Those discussions brought back memories of many years ago when Sandra & I indeed did ride in St. Francies ville with BCC & CCC occasionally. There was a very unique “hotel” that we stayed in that a very small “hotel” that had a carport for a car or motorcycle?
    Do you know the name of that little unusual hotel & is it still open?
    Also, does the bicycling community in St. Francisville have great maps like I made for BCC, AND, posted them on our web site for the whole world to print & use to ride in da swamp & narrow roads wit da oil field trucks? (Believe me, I traveled all those ride map roads on my motorcycle several times looking at hazards & picked the “safeist” routes!!)
    Dick St. Romain
    985-537-5684 uncledickie1@bellsouth.net
    Ps: I’m getting back on my bicycle. I bike about 2 times a week for last 3 weeks. Actually rode 20 miles one day! Yikes. Funny after doing several MS tours, two “HOTTER-N-HELLS” Arkansas Mountain Challenge, California Wine Valley “gourmet” tour, etc., etc. that I feel like an Olympian doing 20 miles now!!!! Lol, lol
    PSS: How are you and Lep doing?
    PSSS: It’s been decades since you & Lep stopped over to visit. Maybe Sandra & I might visit you & Lep if you reveal your address & phone numbers.


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