Work to repair Plaquemine bridge extended into sugar cane harvest season
PLAQUEMINE - A bridge closure in Plaquemine could spell trouble for truck drivers that haul sugar cane.
Work to repair the LA 1 Southbound bridge was supposed to be complete by the end of September, before the sugar cane harvest season began. Now, DOTD has extended that deadline to October 20th.
Iberville Parish President, Mitch Ourso, spoke to WBRZ in August when the closure officially began. Ourso said, officials at DOTD assured him the work would not impact harvest season.
"I'm more than confident in DOTD's ability to get the work done before September the 25th," Ourso said.
Ourso told WBRZ that if the work was extended, it could be catastrophic to the agricultural industry in Plaquemine.
Todd Doiron, who owns Ag Logistics, echoed the parish president's concerns.
"It's gonna delay us a lot," Doiron said.
Doiron's company hauls about 680 loads of sugar cane from Port Allen to White Castle every 24 hours. He says, sugar cane has to be processed quickly before bacteria sets in.
"It eats away at the cane and it makes it where we cannot produce as much sugar from a stalk of cane," he said.
With one lane in each direction on the main route through Plaquemine, delays are inevitable. And when every minute counts, additional traffic congestion could result in a loss of profits in the sugar cane industry.
"There is a bypass road around Plaquemine but then again it's longer and anything that's longer, takes longer, adds miles to the truck and costs money," said Doiron.
According to Doiron, the sugar cane harvest season was pushed back until early October because of the drought.
"Our agriculture industry is very important. They've went through enough with this heat," Ourso said.
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