Jeff Davis Police Jury takes steps to repair bridges

JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury is taking steps to upgrade and repair bridges to avoid future closures.

On Wednesday, the Police Jury gave Parish Road Supervisor Randy Ringuet authority to get bids for the repair of bridges throughout the parish.

“We need to look at all the bridges we have and look at those that might have minor repairs that need to be made, then have our engineer look at them and get bids for the project,” Ringuet said. “It’s just for preventive maintenance. We are being proactive.”

None of the parish-owned bridges are critical at this time, but many need to be fixed before they become bad, he said.

Most of the problems are attributed to aging bridge structures and damage caused by flooding that has occurred in the past year.

Last year the parish had 14 bridges closed for repairs at the same time — a major inconvenience to many residents, who had to seek alternate routes, Ringuet said. Addressing the bridge needs one at a time will alleviate those problems, he said.

Bridges on Freeland Road and Manuel Road remain closed. The engineer recommended that the Freeland bridge be raised, meaning the approaches also need to be raised. Freeland Road will reopen once the approaches are upgraded.

A bridge on Manuel Road, closed last October after a state bridge inspection, will need to be redone, Ringuet said. 

The existing deck will have to be removed and all new wood installed.

In addition to the bridge repairs, work is expected to begin soon on a 16-mile asphalt overlay project to improve gravel roads throughout the parish.

A bid has been awarded to Prairie Construction Co. of Opelousas, with the project expected to begin this fall.

The project is the third phase of a plan begun when voters approved a 2 percent sales tax to fund road improvements in 2006.

Roads targeted for the project include Lyons Road; Gabriel Lane; Guidry Road; Ponderosa Road; Elton Drive; Greenwood Drive; Gro Racca; and Daigle Road.

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