Parish leaders still working out details for potential new bridge
BATON ROUGE - All five parish presidents, united for the first time since the failed loop project, are putting their heads together to get a new bridge built over the Mississippi River.
Everyone is on the same page, until it comes to its location.
"This area needs a bridge tremendously and I'm going to do whatever I can to be a team player until... Where is the final site going to be at?" Iberville Parish President Mitch Ourso said.
The bridge will likely go in one of three locations all of which need to be studied in depth before moving forward.
"Like I told them, I don't want to put any more money up to make a decision where the bridge needs to be," Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said. "They've done enough studies that they can put three together and give that to the feds."
But the truth is there haven't been any studies done yet about a new bridge.
Narrowing down a location will make it easier to start those impact studies. Another thing that will help speed the process along is having the money to pay for them.
The only parish that really has a money-raising mechanism in place right now is East Baton Rouge with the Mayor's MOVEBR initiative.
"It included a renovation of Highway 30 all the way to the parish line, and so if this commission decides on a location in the southern quarter of the region, then we have already contributed a great foundation for the bridge," Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said.
The big concern in Iberville Parish is how each of the parishes will be paying for the studies and the bridge.
"They haven't told us what the groceries are gonna cost in the basket yet," Ourso said.
Ourso brought up a valid point about the budgeting process.
"Suppose one parish does not want to put up? Does that affect the budget? So I have no idea."