Sep 24, 2012 7:27 PM by Maddie Garrett
State officials have closed five bridges in Jeff Davis Parish and could close more because of structural damage. Bridge Inspectors cited several problems with the bridges, most are decaying and failing timber and pilings below the bridges.
The five closed are on Dewolf Rd., Bebee Rd., Ardoin Rd., Bryan Rd. and Ardoin Cove Rd.
Sherwin LeFranc is the Administrative Road Supervisor in Jeff Davis Parish and said right now he's dealing with a pretty big problem.
"We always know there's going to be some closed when the state inspects, but it's always a shock too because it puts a lot of people in a bad situation," he said.
LeFranc said State Inspectors come every two years to evaluate the bridges. They've already closed five, deemed six in critical condition and they still have more than 50 bridges to inspect in the next few weeks.
"So there could be some more closed before it's all over," said LeFranc.
The bridges in trouble are all about 45 years old and LeFranc said they started seeing an increase in bridge closures about 10 years ago as the bridges aged. Most are in rural areas, but are vital in connecting the parish.
"It affects the school buses, ambulances, postal people and the residents, so it's a lot of detouring," said LeFranc.
Ardoin Cove Road is one of the only black top roads in the area near Welsh and is a major thoroughfare for communiting. Betty Olmsted lives right next to the bridge and said the closure affects more than just her neighbors.
"This whole neighborhood, I mean everybody cuts through here so it's very inconvenient for anybody going to Lake Charles," said Olmsted.
LeFranc said they hope to have the Ardoin Cove Bridge fixed in a week but doesn't know when they can fix the others.
"It could be a while," said leFranc. "But it all depends on the money."
How and when to fix the bridges will be up to the Police Jury. For now, those bridges are closed indefinitely.