Jeff Davis bridge repair projects to continue

By By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — Bridge repair projects in rural Jefferson Davis Parish will continue into the new year.

Administrative Road Supervisor Sherwin LeFranc said the parish is moving forward with plans to repair the structurally damaged

bridges. The project began in late 2012 and will continue into 2013, he said.

“We are going down the list till we get them all done,” LeFranc said.

A bridge on T.V. Tower Road near Fenton was opened Friday and work is underway on Ardoin Road near Hathaway. The next in line

to be repaired is a bridge on DeWolf Road near Woodlawn, he said.

In late December, the Police Jury also approved repairs for bridges on Mouton Road, just east of La. 382 near Thornwell and

Dave Williams Road and Lyons Road, just south of La. 1126.

Each bridge is expected to take two to three weeks to repair, depending on the weather, LeFranc said.

The cost to repair most of the bridges will be $20,000 to $50,000 with some of the larger bridges costing up to $150,000.

Money for the repairs is coming from surplus revenues in the parish’s Road Sales Tax District 1 Fund, Secretary/Treasurer

Rebecca Gary said. The sales tax was approved by voters in 2006 to help fund rural road repairs.

“As long as the sales taxes are up, we are in good shape and are able to use the excess to fix the bridges because they are

part of our road system,” Gary said.

The fund currently has $4.5 million, but portions of those funds are used to retire the debt on bonds previously purchased

for a $20 million road overlay project. Fourteen years remain on the debt, Gary said.

The Department of Transportation and Development began inspecting and closing the bridges in August as part of its off-system

bridge program.

In all, eight bridges were closed due to structural damages, including broken, rotten and decaying pilings underneath the

bridges. Seventeen others were deemed critical and in need of repairs, but remain open.

Many of the bridges closed during the inspections were previously on the critical lists, Police Jury President Woods said.