WPA bridge completion delayed

Contractor pushes for Aug. 10 opening

August 05, 2011 at 9:13 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A delay in the completion of a new, wider span of the WPA Road bridge means residents in Bayou Gauche will have to detour past the area for a little longer.

The project to replace the bridge, which travels over the No. 10 drainage canal, began in December and was supposed to be completed by June. But as work continued into July, a sign announced that the completion date would be July 29.
That sign was taken down last week.

“The contractor said they need two weeks of dry weather to finish, in order to lay asphalt before and after the bridge and do the side abatements,” Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, public information director for St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said.

WPA Road serves as a shortcut that decreases travel time between Bayou Gauche and Des Allemands. The closure of the road adds about 10 minutes to commute time, since drivers must go all the way to Highway 90 to get to Des Allemands.
Dustin Annison, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation and Development, said the recent delays have been caused by rainy weather. However, the bridge should be open by Aug. 10.

“We are shooting for that date so that the bridge is open before school starts,” he said.

But even if the bridge remains closed, the schools don’t expect it to cause trouble for buses carrying children from Bayou Gauche to Allemands Elementary School.

“Even if it goes into the start of the school year, it’s still not going to be an issue for buses,” Cancienne-Touchard said. “Work has been going on since December and buses have already been rerouted since then and it hasn’t been that big of a deal.”

Cancienne-Touchard added that the completed bridge will make travel easier for school children.

However, some residents are growing tired of the whole process.

“I think it’s a very big problem because when the construction first started we had to detour over a road filled with piles of rocks,” Danielle Merritt, a resident of Bayou Gauche, said. “Now the road is graded, but there are still two different spots that are hazardous for vehicles.”

Merritt takes the detour twice every day on her way to, and home from work.

“It just seems like this has been going on forever,” she said. “I so appreciate WPA Road now.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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