Private bridge damaged by flood, owner can't afford to fix
DENHAM SPRINGS - A private bridge over a parish-maintained canal was damaged during the August 2016 flood. The owner can't afford to fix it herself.
Reva Beck has to park on one side of the canal and walk over the rickety bridge to her house. She says it's in such disrepair, first responders can't get to her house since the bridge can't carry the weight of the vehicles.
"There's nothing up underneath there to hold the car," she said.
The bridge was built by her late husband in the 70s. Her husband wanted to live in the country and his dream was to live on the piece of land where Beck resides. But rushing water and large pieces of debris took its toll 14 months ago and pushed the bridge off balance. In one part, the bridge is sinking and you can see through to Colyell creek below. Jump up and down and the bridge moves.
"It worked good, it worked good up until the flood," said Beck.
Her driveway has now become a footbridge. She parks her car on one side and walks the 175 feet over the bridge to her front door, sometimes hauling groceries. There's no other way to get to her house.
Beck says she's called many with little success.
"DOTD, Livingston Parish Gravity Drainage, Garrett Graves," she said to name a few.
The Office of Garrett Graves says it's still looking for options to help Beck.
Beck says she has no other choice but to live this way since she can't afford to fix the bridge herself.
FEMA helped with the repairs to her flood-damaged home, but not with the bridge.
"Since it was not my home, they could not do much," she said.
Colyell Creek runs under the bridge and through the neighborhood. The creek is maintained by Gravity Drainage, but Gravity Drainage District 5 says it's discussed this bridge a number of times before the board, ultimately voting it down because it can't use public funds for a private bridge.
Beck isn't sure how much longer she can keep up this routine of carrying belongings back and forth from her car to her house. She says some of the materials used to make the bridge are still good and is hopeful an engineer can take a look to tell her more about what it will cost to repair.
She would like to see her bridge fixed so she can drive home once again.