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Heavily trafficked bridge in Opelousas closed indefinitely

Posted: 6:50 PM, Oct 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-05 20:52:54-04

A bridge leading to Opelousas High School is closed because engineers say it’s unsafe for travel.

”Even though it may be a major inconvenience, the tragedy that could happen is that if we don’t have the bridge closed, then the bridge could fail and people could get hurt and even get killed,” said St. Landry Parish President & professional civil engineer, Bill Fontenot.

That is on Judson Walsh Drive just west of I-49.

A routine inspection by parish government found the bridge was structurally unsound.

“Upon one of its six-month routine inspections, it was found to be so rotted the piles that support this west end of the bridge, that the bridge was determined to be needing to be closed,” said Fontenot.

The wooden pylons that support the beam that in turn supports the road surface are rotten to the core.

“We had been exploring a temporary fix which costs at a minimum about $60,000 dollars,” said Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Opelousas Rod Sias.

He says the city has the money for a temporary fix in its budget.

However, the city has been working with the Governor’s office and DOTD to begin a major $500,000 dollar permanent repair next year.

“If we started a temporary fix now, once we were done with the plans and surveys, we’d probably get started around late December, and possibly finish around January..maybe February and then that’s March, April, and June…three months later we’d be tearing $60,000 dollars worth of repairs out,” said Sias.