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Officials trying to bridge gap between Central and Watson

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WATSON - A proposed bridge would connect the Central and Watson communities if everything goes according to plans.

The 5.5 mile bridge would cross the Amite River three miles north of the Magnolia Road Bridge giving motorists another way to get across the river.

"It's booming out here in Watson and it's kind of expanding to Pine Grove even to Denham Springs, so more cars on the road need more avenues to get where we need to go. It will give me another option. Sometimes when it's hectic and I'm in a hurry I need to get where I need to go, so one more option wouldn't hurt," said Karen Lee.

Representative J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs, is part of a group of elected officials that has worked on the bridge proposal for the past three years.

"Residents are all in favor of this. They cry for more relief every day and our people that travel the roads know that we've got to have additional relief and this is just a way to give it to them," he said.

Representative Valerie Hodges, R-Watson, and Senators Mack "Bodi" White, R-Central, and Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, are also part of the group trying to bridge the gap. The project would cost around $50 million, according to Pope.

The group also hopes to expand Hooper Road to four lanes of traffic from Sullivan Road to Greenwell Springs Road. Pope says the project would ease the flow of traffic along the Interstate, Magnolia Bridge Road and Florida Boulevard. Currently an environmental study is being done. Then a feasibility study would have to be finished before the state can fund the project.

"We're doing the studies. We would hope that it would be yesterday, but we know it won't be tomorrow. We'll try to get this done as quickly and as feasible as we can," said Pope.

Meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday for residents to discuss the proposed bridge. The meeting Tuesday is at the Central High School Lecture Theatre from 6-7:30 p.m.

The meeting Wednesday is at the Live Oak High School cafeteria from 6-7:30 p.m.


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