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Iberville Parish President-Elect discusses future Mississippi River bridge plans

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BATON ROUGE - The Department of Transportation and Development has worked for four years to bring a new Mississippi River bridge to the capital area, and there's still an undetermined amount of years left to go. 

The most current statusas provided at Monday's CARB-D committee meetingthey're about to start the environmental impact studies on the three preferred locations, which are all in Iberville Parish.

One of them, the western most location, has met quite a bit of backlash from residents in that areaa 245-year-old neighborhood called Plaquemine Point.

"I'm worried about the impact it could have on our community," resident Dr. Harold Bordelon said.

"I don't see how you can replace 300-year-old cypress trees that were there prior to the Louisiana Purchase," resident Robert Causey said.

"I think our lifestyle and the heritage...is one to be considered," resident Gene Mills said.

Iberville Parish President-Elect Chris Daigle, who defeated the 26-year incumbent, says he is listening to those concerns. He will take Mitch Ourso's spot on the committee once inaugurated.

"My plan is to continue the push moving forward with the bridge in Iberville Parish. The intent with Iberville Parish being the only parish that has land on both sides of the river that does not have a bridge. I'm glad that the final three locations have been chosen for Iberville," Daigle said.

Besides still having a lot of steps to get through, the estimated $1.5 billion project is not fully funded. The plan is to raise a large portion of the remaining money with tolls.

"Tolls are a big part of it. We know that years ago there was a Donaldsonville bridge that was a toll, many may have forgot about, but it was vital part of making sure that bridge did happen and I am for tolls if we need to make it happen."

Daigle says he plans to work closely with the new governor to make the bridge happen for his parish.

"The bridge is important for Iberville so it's at the top of our list. My next step is to reach out to Governor [Elect] Landry and Garret Graves and all the congressmen and hear and let them know our concerns that this project needs to move forward."

The deadline for those environmental studies was extended to the end of 2024.

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