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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Fourchon Swing Bridge to be removed

Fourchon Swing Bridge to be removed

Officials with Lafourche Parish Government and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) announced the upcoming closure and removal of the Fourchon Swing Bridge over the Pass Fourchon waterway in Port Fourchon, set for Monday, Feb. 19.

“After a recent inspection of the bridge and its movements, we were advised by a team of experts that it is no longer safe to continue opening and closing the bridge to allow vessels to pass, so it has remained in the closed position since this inspection,” said Lafourche Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle.

“We know that this waterway is still an important route for shrimping and large recreational vessels, and the U.S. Coast Guard have advised us that we need to get the channel back open as soon as possible, so we are working with the Coast Guard and the Port Commission to safely remove the bridge in the coming weeks,” Cantrelle added.

The swing bridge was actually on its second life in Port Fourchon, having previously served as the main bridge over Bayou Lafourche in Leeville from the 1930s to the 1970s.

When the Leeville lift bridge was installed in the 1970s, the Lafourche Parish Police Jury at the time agreed to move the old swing bridge to Port Fourchon to span Pass Fourchon. At that time, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission agreed to assume the maintenance and operations of the swing bridge, and have spent over $2.5 million in the past 40 years on maintenance and upgrade works to date. This includes over $1.4 million since 2005 to continue to extend the functional life of the bridge.

“While we are sad to see the 80-plus year old bridge come to the end of its functional life, we can honestly say that the taxpayers got their money’s worth on this piece of infrastructure, and we are working as quickly and safely as possible to get it out of the way in time for the height of shrimping season,” said Daniel Lorraine, Councilman District Nine.