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Final DOTD new Mississippi River bridge ends in Iberville Parish

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IBERVILLE PARISH - The final public meeting discussing potential sites for a new bridge over the Mississippi took place in Iberville Parish, where seven of the ten proposed sites are located.

“Scout's honor. I have no idea where the three sites are going to be,” Iberville Parish President Mitchell Ourso said. 

But it's very likely at least one of the top three sites for the bridge will be in Iberville Parish, which may help explain the high turn out Tuesday night. 

“What we need is public input about the likes or dislikes of the public... which ones do they think is the best," Dr. Eric Kalivoda, the deputy secretary with the Department of Transportation and Development, said.

But some say they are tired of talking. They're ready to see some action. 

"I don't want to hear them talk. I want them to come over here and sit in traffic, and believe me, they won't talk much longer,” Iberville resident Stella Tanoos said.

Tanoos says it should not even be a debate. She believes a Mississippi River bridge should have been put in the parish years ago.

“We have nothing on this side of the river. If I have to do a blood test, I have to go to Baton Rouge and then I have to go two days later to see the doctor. That's two times I have to fight that traffic. It's just not worth it. I'd rather die on this side and just not go to the doctor,” Tanoos said. 

It seems people have been complaining about the traffic to the parish president as well, but he's also hearing from people who don't want the bridge close to their homes. 

“Everybody expresses support when they're caught in traffic trying to get across the bridge into East Baton Rouge and you know a lot of people want the bridge, and they don't want to be affected by it in their backyards. I get that. I get that,” President Ourso said.

So what’s next?  

“We just have to summarize what we've gotten out of the public meetings, we'll narrow it down to three. We'll see where those three are and then we'll narrow it down to one,” Dr. Kalivoda said. 

It will be years until construction on the bridge actually happens, and a lot depends on this legislative session. 

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