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First DOTD meeting on new Mississippi Bridge proposal draws dozens on Bluebonnet location

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BATON ROUGE - It is now down to 10 locations for a planned new bridge over the Mississippi River.

Monday was the first of six public meetings hosted by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to discuss finalizing a location for the bridge.

“I'm against the Point Marie location. I'm against the Bluebonnet location. We need to build it instead of two densely populated areas... We need to move it into Iberville Parish,” said Ron Crum, who lives nearby.

But there were also many who didn't mind the location. They just want to get the process going.

“I think it's past necessary at this point. I don't have a personal choice, but it looks like what may be practical is definitely within the options left,” said Troy Villa, another Baton Rouge resident.

And that was the whole point of Monday and future meetings, to see how people are feeling.

“It would be senseless for us to move forward with a billion-dollar bridge if it's not something the public wants,” Rodney Mallett with DOTD said.

“The Bluebonnet crossing and the Point Marie crossing... both of those sites cross five miles of some of the most pristine, ecologically sensitive swamps in the entire state,” Crum said.

The increase of traffic became a major concern to residents as well.

“You're going to take stop-and-go traffic, and you're going to turn it into dead-stop traffic,” Crum added.

But overall, there did seem to be some agreement between those in attendance.

“We need the bridge to connect Highway 1 across the river to Highway 30 on this side of the river,” Baton Rouge resident John Fetzer said.

The billion-dollar question is where, and the answer to that is still to be determined.

“We need to move it to Iberville Parish where we can build it in cane fields and not in populated areas,” Crum said.

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