Livingston Parish residents frustrated with lengthy bridge repair
LIVINGSTON PARISH - A bridge on a major roadway that’s been closed since the flood has drivers frustrated with its repair progress.
The bridge is located on River Road, which runs parallel to Range Avenue on the backside of Memorial Cemetery.
“It was my way to work before the flood and its been shut down since the flood,” Bradley Bounds said.
He’s one of the hundreds of commuters who traveled River Road every day. One morning, the words 'bridge out' covered a traffic barricade, making this thoroughfare impassable.
“No one really noticed it right after the flood because Denham was going to school at Watson, but after Christmas and traffic kicked in, it was constant stop and go traffic,” Bounds said.
With the burden of traffic, many drivers are now facing fines. River Road runs parallel to Range Avenue, but cutting through Memorial Cemetery isn't their best bet to get around the roadblocks.
“About two or three times a week you'll see them stopping cars going through the cemetery and writing citations,” Bounds said.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks says changes are coming, and they’re coming from higher up.
“The federal highway group along with our officials said you got to close it and you got to close it now,” Ricks said.
While parish officials didn't have much say in the closing of the roadway, they are making changes to the future bridge.
“We're going with bigger and more space in the box culverts than the study indicated we need, because we never want to run into a problem where enough water can't get through,” Ricks said.
Ricks understands the aggravation, but asks for drivers to be patient.
“I know it's been a long and drawn out slow process for everyone who travels on that road. But in the big scheme of things, the way it normally works with federal highway and state they're moving at a fast track. But it's just never fast enough for people who travel on that road, including me,” he said.
The good news is, the plan is approved and work will begin this month and is hoped to be completed by December, 2017. The project is estimated to cost between $200,000 to $300,000 but Livingston Parish will only will be responsible to pay for 20 percent.