SLIDELL, La. -- There’s some heavy lifting going on between the old, broken I-10 Twin Span bridge and the new one.
Crushed pieces of the old bridge, torn up by Hurricane Katrina, are being dropped back into Lake Pontchartrain to develop a reef, which the Coastal Conservation Association, or CCA, hopes can also help some wounds from Hurricane Isaac.
"Everybody likes to come here and go fishing,” said Ron Harris, president of the Slidell Chapter of the CCA, “Right after the storm, it seems like it wrecked it just as we started and it's taken a while to get everything going again."
Isaac did $2 million worth of damage to the jetty and timber bridges of the St. Tammany Parish Fishing Pier, as well as to the road running to it, four months after it opened. But this reef, the third in the lake, but the first for people without a boat, could help bring the pier, and the area, back to life.
"The marine organisms need a hard point to attach to, to start the food chain, so the bait fish will come in after the plants and little animals start growing, and then the good fish -- the sport fish, speckled trout, red fish, flounder -- will be coming around and be attracted to these reefs and available right off the fishing pier," said John Walther, CCA chairman for Habitat and Conservation.
While work on the reef will actually be finished this week, any repairs on the St. Tammany Parish Pier haven't even started and there's really no time line for when they will.
"We've been working with FEMA to get the project worksheets obligated that will give us the funds to go ahead and repair that Isaac damage, and we're almost there," said St. Tammany Parish 2nd Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Gina Campo.
The reef project is costing around $200,000 and is being paid for with donations from Shell, CCA members and Wildlife and Fisheries Reef Trust Fund.