Rising river delays work on bike path


November 24, 2009 at 10:52 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Though major work was stopped on the West Bank bike path because of high water levels in the river, the completion of the project shouldn’t be delayed too long. In fact, since 85 percent of it is already complete, joggers, walkers and bike riders have bee
Jonathan Menard
Though major work was stopped on the West Bank bike path because of high water levels in the river, the completion of the project shouldn’t be delayed too long. In fact, since 85 percent of it is already complete, joggers, walkers and bike riders have bee
The 6.2-mile bicycle/pedestrian path under construction between Hahnville and Luling was supposed to be completed by early December, but has been delayed due to unusually high water levels in the Mississippi River.

The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered all major construction within 1,500 feet of the levee stopped until water levels fall below 11 feet. Currently, water levels are hovering around 14 feet because heavy rain in the Midwest is sending water downstream, which is causing the Mississippi River to rise. The river was expected to crest on Nov. 18, according to Stephen Truitt, the parish’s superintendent of public works.

“So (the water) will probably take time to go back below the 11 foot range,” he said.

Boh Brothers bid a little over $1.3 million for the project in August. Construction of the path, which will travel from Elm Street in Hahnville to Davis Drive in Luling, was expected to last no longer than 45 days.

The design for the path has been completed since 2004 and funding was approved in 2002. However, the parish had to wait for the state Department of Transportation and Development to go out for bids on the project.

When finished, the path will have an overlook and parking for 26 vehicles at the Hale Boggs Bridge near the animal shelter and three upramps. Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said that the path would also include an area for residents to park their bikes and sit on benches to watch the Mississippi River.

Project engineer Danny Hebert said that the path is 85 percent complete and that laying down the asphalt for the path should be finished relatively quickly. The major work, such as installing upramps and the overlook, will take longer.

“We are shooting for a mid-December completion date now,” Hebert said.

Hebert added that the path should be completed by then, but that there still might be work left on the overlook and upramps when that date is reached.

Since a lot of the asphalt is  in place, Hebert said that several residents have been using the path already.
And so have vehicles.

“We do have concerns about people driving on the path during construction - mostly curious sightseers,” Hebert said. “We have asked the contractor and the Sheriff’s Office to monitor and remind people that motorized vehicles are prohibited by local ordinance.”

The parish currently has a paved bicycle and pedestrian path on the East Bank that starts in Jefferson Parish and ends in Ormond.

The plan is for both paths to eventually span the entire length of the parish on the levees.




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