Five rural bridges closed because they were deemed unsafe by the state will soon be reopened after the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury approved repairs Wednesday. (Doris Maricle / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 3:57 PM
JENNINGS — Five rural bridges closed because they were deemed unsafe by the state will soon be reopened after the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury approved repairs Wednesday.
Police Jury President Donald Woods said bridges on Bebee Road, DeWolf Road, Ardoin Road, Bryan Road and Parish Line Road will be repaired within the next few weeks. Repairs will cost more than $200,000; the money will come from parish road construction tax revenues.
The bridges are likely to be repaired in the order in which they were closed beginning with Ardoin Road in the Hathaway area, Parish Road Supervisor Owen Cormier said.
Three other bridges on Dave Williams Road, Lyons Road and Mouton Road remain closed pending repair cost estimates. The expense for them will likely be larger because they are “bigger and longer bridges,” Woods said.
The bridges are among eight structures closed by the state after inspections earlier this year. Seventeen others were deemed critical and in need of repairs, but remain open.
“This time they closed six or seven bridges, and we probably have another 12 to 15 on the critical lists, so when they come back in two years those all may be closed,” Woods said.
The Police Jury has two years to address the problems to avoid closure, he said. “We need to take care of the ones closed first, then hopefully take care of the others before they are closed,” he said.
Most of the bridges closed during the inspections were previously on the critical lists, Woods said. “It’s all catching up with us,” he said.
Most of the problems are with aging structures, including broken, rotten and decaying pilings underneath the bridges, he said. “The pilings are rotten out because they have been there for years,” he said.
Although Jefferson Davis Parish has received a lot of publicity on the closed bridges, Woods said the parish is not alone. “All the parishes are having the same problem,” he said.
The Department of Transportation and Development began inspecting and closing the bridges in August as part of its off-system bridge program.
The bridges are inspected every two years by the state, according to Administrative Road Supervisor Sherwin LeFranc. Those inspections have been completed.
The Police Jury conducts its own inspections every six months. Those inspections will begin next month, he said.