Tigerland bridge soon to be closed for months-long replacement
BATON ROUGE - Annie Pugh has lived in Tigerland for 12 years, so she's used to traffic in the area, especially along the bridge on Bob Petit Boulevard running over Bayou Fountain.
"I use the bridge for my school bus and for personal use as well," Pugh said. "It's very busy, especially during school time.
The bridge she and so many others take on a daily basis, whether it be by foot or by car, is set to be replaced, requiring a closure that is expected to stretch into next summer.
"I'm just preparing myself mentally for it," Pugh said.
The bridge, constructed in 1969, sees about 18,000 vehicles each day, according to a 2018 report by a national transportation nonprofit.
Plans to replace the 52-year-old bridge have been in the works for a while, but the city-parish expects to shut it down in the coming weeks.
A spokesman for the city-parish says the project was delayed until the end of football season, but for safety reasons, the work must get started.
While the new bridge is being built, the intersection of Bob Petit Boulevard and Nicholson Drive will be completely closed to both cars and pedestrians. The sidewalks along the bridge are frequented by bar-goers and students living in the area.
"That's going to be one way in and one way out," Pugh said. "It's going to be very congested."
During the span of the closure, the only way to access the Tigerland area will be from Brightside Drive along Alvin Dark Boulevard.
"When the bars open, I want to be home," Pugh said. "It's really busy, you know, during school time. When it's bar time it's even worse, because it's just going to be that one side."
Replacing the bridge will come with a price tag of around $1 million. Officials expect the project to be wrapped up by late summer 2022.
For Pugh, the closure will be inconvenient, likely even frustrating, but she's just hoping drivers in the area are patient when navigating Tigerland.
"I mean, it's life," Pugh said. "Sometimes things come up. [You've] just got to deal with it until it gets better, but it's for safety."