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Residents frustrated and concerned over new bridge construction

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SAINT GABRIEL - The old Bayou Breaux Bridge is gone. Transportation officials said it was too old, falling apart, and a sharp turn made it unsafe.

"It caused a lot of accidents," said nearby resident Courtney Evans. "A lot of people were getting into bad accidents coming around that curve."

Now that construction is underway, residents are concerned about evacuation routes and if emergency vehicles will be able to get through.

"Folks could be dead before you get to them," resident Catherine Williams said. "We have a good ambulance system but it's not going to save lives when we really need it."

Williams also says the new bridge should have been built before the old one was removed.

"I just think it was wrong," Williams said. "It wasn't brought to the people. The people should have been the ones to discuss this here and make that decision."

There is a temporary gravel road that has been built for the project. However, residents say it's too dangerous to drive on and there's across it that's always locked. It's only for emergency and construction use. The mayor of St. Gabriel is asking the state to build a bridge that residents can use during construction.

"It's not the state's fault," Williams said. "The city knew a long time ago that this was about to happen."

Work on the new bridge is expected to finish this summer. Because of supply chain issues, though, DOTD is unsure of that timeline.

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