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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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La. 308 bridge in Raceland could reopen in July

La. 308 bridge in Raceland could reopen in July

A main thoroughfare in Raceland has been closed since January, but officials say an end is in sight. The La. 308 bridge in Raceland was closed by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development due to structural problems.

Drivers have been bypassing the closure through La. 1, with the help of Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s deputies guiding traffic during peak hours.

“It’s a major inconvenience,” said Lafourche Parish Councilman Corey Perrillioux, who represents the Raceland area.

He thanked the sheriff’s department for sending deputies to direct traffic due to the additional vehicles using La. 1.

“We should be done with bridge work in next couple of weeks. Asphalt work will follow and will be done by in-house forces. The goal is to have project completed by early hurricane season,” said DOTD spokeswoman Bambi Hall.

“The state told me July would be the earliest completion,” Perrillioux said, adding that it was an optimistic timeline possibly held up by a lack of state money.

State crews began replacement work in late March, working alternating shifts seven days a week to speed up the process, DOTD engineer Chris Rogers said previously.

The new bridge will be wider and include shoulders, he said.

“People aren’t happy about it; we all pay taxes just like any other parish in the state,” Perrillioux said. “I don’t understand why this project has taken so long.”

Farther south, the Valentine bridge remains closed and has no expected opening date, Lafourche Parish Public Works Compliance Officer Aaron Frymoyer said.

It was closed by the parish indefinitely in January 2017 “for various issues,” a press release states.

Parish Councilman Armand “Noonie” Autin, who also serves as the Lockport fire chief and manager of the nearby Valentine Chemicals, said the closure has affected the community.

The cost to repair it could be as high as $1 million, he said, but no clear money source has been found.

“The Valentine Bridge is situated in the middle of the roughly 10-mile stretch between the T-Bois and Bollinger/Belle View bridges along Bayou Lafourche”, Autin said.

“Since the closure, traffic has increased on both bridges, leading to some repairs on the parish-owned T-Bois Bridge”, he said.

“In the event of a crash on La. 308, roadways have to be shut down and traffic diverted across the bayou”, Autin said. “Due to the distance between the two open bridges, traffic jams can occur before the road can be closed”, he said.

“The bridge was closed previously after a state inspection revealed some problems. Repairs were made then and the bridge was reopened. However, the state came back later and required a full closure”, Autin said.

“I’m hopeful that something can be done, but I’m pessimistic about a funding source,” he said, adding that hopes to include the project in next year’s capital outlay budget.

The Chevron Bridge, also known as the Fourchon Swing Bridge over the Pass Fourchon waterway, has been completely removed, Frymoyer said.

The parish is not planning to replace that bridge, and the project is considered complete, he said.

The Hamilton Street bridge in Larose was closed in February after an inspection by DOTD. It has since been repaired and is open to traffic, Frymoyer said.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.