In May the Mississippi River ferry connecting New Roads with St. Francisville closed for good replaced by the new John James Audubon bridge. The opening of the new bridge is important for long-distance bicyclists because the ferry was the only crossing for miles of the great river that was not either dangerous, illegal or both. Bicyclists riding the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier crossed the Misssissippi River using the St. Francisville ferry.
The new bridge is "bicycle friendly" thanks to the work of bicycle advocates in Baton Rouge and East and West Feliciana parishes. Cyclists are permitted on the eight foot wide shoulder the length of the bridge and there are no rumble strips, say riders who have ridden the bridge since its opening.
Approaches to the new bridge are south (downriver) of the old ferry landings. New highways (approaches) were built to connect the bridge with U.S. 61 on the east bank and New Roads on the west bank.
The bridge was not scheduled to open until late summer or early fall but was opened early to traffic because high water in the Mississippi River forced the closing of the ferry, adding about 90 miles to the round trip from New Roads to St. Francisville. Construction continues on the bridge but the work that remains is cosmetic.