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State Lining Up 65 Bridge Replacement Projects at $208M

Wed May 16, 2012 - Southeast Edition
CEG


he Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development plans more than $208 million in bridge replacement and repairs.
he Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development plans more than $208 million in bridge replacement and repairs.

MONROE, La. (AP) The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development plans more than $208 million in bridge replacement and repairs — provided the Legislature approves the money.

Statewide, the department expects to begin 65 replacements and repairs. The News-Star reported eight bridges in northeast Louisiana will be replaced.

Department administrator Marshall Hill said the bridges aren’t hazardous — but wooden components must be replaced with concrete.

David Miller, who is in charge of bridge maintenance, said DOTD is responsible for inspecting more than 13,000 bridges. Generally, each bridge is inspected every two years.

Miller said local governments are responsible for the repair or replacement of bridges they own, adding that the state conducts most of the inspections for the cities and parishes. The state replaces roughly 20 to 30 bridges a year, Miller said.

The state’s worst problem bridge, Miller said, is the mile and a half stretch of twin bridges on U.S. Highway 90 east of Morgan City. Inspectors recently found cracks in support beams.

Among bridges in Ouachita Parish expected to see changes are the Missouri Pacific Railroad Bridge, an overpass on U.S. Highway 80 and the Interstate 20 bridge over the Ouachita River.

Work will begin in May on repairing the U.S. Highway 190 Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge. The project is expected to take two years.

The department is working several major projects, the largest being the $1.2 billion widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

Another major project is the $82.9 million replacement of the Fort Buhlow Bridge that crosses the Red River on U.S. Highway 71 between Alexandria and Pineville. Completion is projected for January 2014.