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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Lighting concerns are connected to two bridges in the New Orleans metro area. The problem: future lack of funding and what one citizen calls bad planning.

The Crescent City Connection is a New Orleans landmark that glows bright at night. However, Wednesday afternoon Mayor Mitch Landrieu warned those lights could go out.

'We're about to -- in my opinion -- have a catastrophic event on the CCC because of actions that that [Louisiana] Legislature is refusing to take,' said Landrieu during a press conference.

The mayor was referring the CCC tolls set to expire in December. The tolls generate an estimated $25 million annually. But critics say only about $5 million goes towards basic bridge operations, like lighting.

State Rep. Patrick Connick, R-Harvey, maintains that the end of the CCC tolls doesn't mean a doomsday scenario.

'There are some people who want this thing to fail. They want the public to be scared, and that's not right. They're giving out worst-case scenarios,' Connick said during a phone interview from Baton Rouge.

The Marrero lawmaker is proposing a bill that would essentially have voters decide on whether or not to approve an annual license fee to help pay for bridge upkeep.

'I think the solution I'm looking at is to create transportation enhancement districts on a parish-by-parish basis, and that's statewide,' Connick said.

Down the road from the CCC, a $1.2 billion widening project is underway at the Huey P. Long bridge.

West Bank native Gary Bourgeois said something essential is missing from the project.

'We're building this big, old beautiful bridge with no street lights. To me it's mainly a safety issue because in this area it's very dark at night,' said Bourgeois.

The West Bank native says he's spent years trying to figure out why the project doesn't include bridge lighting.

'I started asking the questions about the lights, and they came up that it was left out of the project. I was told that they had a problem with who was actually going to pay for the lighting itself after once it was installed,' added Bourgeois.

Two different bridges face uncertain futures that could leave both structures and drivers in the dark.

A spokeswoman with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said no funds were allocated for bridge lighting on the Huey P. Long project.

Will it have lights in the future? Eyewitness News has learned that local citizen groups are trying to raise money for decorative lighting on the bridge.

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