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Lod Stafford Road Bridge finally seeing upgrades after Hurricane Ida

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LIVINGSTON PARISH - A Livingston Parish bridge that has been unusable for two years will soon be open to traffic. 

In 2021, Hurricane Ida knocked a tree onto a wooden bridge along on Lod Stafford Road near Weiss Road outside of Livingston. The structure collapsed and it was closed to cars for two years.

Now, Livingston Parish is providing a temporary solution while the final project is built. 

Resident Lud Heintz lives on Lod Stafford Road and says without the bridge, commutes are much longer for every aspect of his life. Heintz says the people who live along the Lod Stafford are typically older, which is concerning for arrival of first-reponders. 

"The additional 15 to 20 minutes for emergency services is tough," Heintz said.

Parish Councilman Jeff Ard is heading the project. He said the bridge getting fixed is imperative for first responders. 

"We've gotten a lot of complaints from fire trucks having difficulty getting here," Ard said.

Heintz says the bridge being unusable has made an impact on his children's school commutes. School busses could no longer cross, so some students had to change to a school that was closer. 

"The school board has been accommodating, however it's still been difficult having bus services," Heintz said. "With my wife and I both working, someone always needed to be home to drive to the main road to pick-up from the school bus."

Livingston Parish says the temporary bridge cost the parish $800,000 and will be opened during the second full week of August. They say it will allow access to drivers while construction continues on the permanent one. While this is good news for residents, Ard says the new bridge comes with restrictions.

"It will have a weight limit. It's will allow school buses to come back across. Most of our emergency services will be able to cross," Ard said. "The only thing that will be an issue is if we have a fire truck full of water."

With two weeks until opening, adjustments are still being made.

"AT&T and Charter have some lines that have to be raised up. They're supposed to be out here this week to get them done," Ard said.

The parish's long-term plan is to adjust the road, complying with new FEMA regulations. It includes straightening the curvy road leading to the bridge and using concrete instead of wood on the final bridge.

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