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$45 million grant awarded for Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel replacement

Part of the plan will include tolls. Officials say they are needed to pay for construction.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation will receive $45 million for the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel replacement.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao joined Senator Bill Cassidy in announced the $45 million grant provided through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America discretionary grant program.

The project will replace the more than 60-year-old tunnel and the structural steel vertical-lift bridge crossing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The replacement bridge will include four lanes and a separate protected pedestrian/bicycle lane.

Part of the plan will include tolls. Officials say they are needed to pay for construction.

The $45 million grant will be combined with money leaders have secured including, 26.2 million from the National Highway Performance Program and an additional $12 million from Surface Transportation Funding. That will total more than $80 million for what is an estimated $125 million project.

Leaders are now reviewing proposals to build the bridge, hoping to pick one out by October 2019.