After seven months of U-turns and detours, drivers can once again use the Surrey Street Bridge. A routine inspection caused the emergency closure of the bridge back in October, and now repairs are finished a month ahead of schedule. Four phases of repairs were needed to fix the bridge.
For neighbors, commuters and business owners, the day could not come soon enough.
"About 16,000 cars a day pass over this bridge so it is a really big arterial for us," says Alison Lognion, the Project Engineer for Lafayette.
For some, the bridge is bringing customers back to their businesses. Sharon Moss says her car dealerships have felt the slower traffic.
"We are ecstatic about it, very very happy because it definitely encumbered us. It was harder for our customers to get to us and it’s like anything, you want everything to be accessible, so we’re just ecstatic. When Kenneth Boudreaux called me to tell me that it was a possibility I was cheering," says Moss.
The project is finished a full month early, but still, some asked – why the seven-month delay?
"There’s been a lot of people calling and I know it’s taken a long time but there’s just a lot that goes into this entire project. We did four big parts of the bridge. We replaced the bearings, replaced the joints, we had a new urethane epoxy overlay, and we had a cleaning and painting of the bridge," says Lognion.
Because the bridge serves as a gateway to Acadiana from the Lafayette Airport, Lognion wanted to add a little something special. She had the steel girders painted red.
"The symbolism of that color is for the university, to represent the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and also it’s on the Vermilion River, so what better color than vermilion red to have as the steel girders?" says Lognion.