BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Five hundred of Louisiana’s bridges are in poor condition, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD).
One such bridge is close to the capital area, in Baker.
According to Governor John Bel Edwards, it’s included among the structures that will be repaired with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
This week, Governor Edwards met with DOTD to discuss the maintenance of bridges across Louisiana and announced that thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the state will have access to a bridge repair budget that’s more than $500 million.
Edwards said, “There are over 500 locally owned bridges across the state that are eligible. That’s 100 percent funding without any local match.”
Typically, parishes across the state are responsible for the upkeep of non-state-owned bridges.
But Governor Edwards says he wants to offer assistance by allowing parish leaders to choose which bridges in their areas require funds for repair work.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that bridges across Louisiana, like the one in Baker, meet all official codes and regulations.
At this time, some bridges are in such need of repair that they’re out of harmony with official regulations.
Edwards touched on this when referring to a particular bridge. He said, “It actually will not carry trucks bearing the full weight that are legal on the highways. And that causes a real problem in terms of the distance that they have to travel in order to get goods to and from.”
The amount of money distributed to each parish will be based on the number of bridges it needs repaired.
Edwards explained that the money is available, saying, “Over five years… the investment we’re going to make is $335 million.”
However, an official with DOTD added, “The type of work that you’re going to do on the bridge, whether it’s a replacement or just a major repair, might determine the total number of bridges that we’re actually going to be able to achieve… and work with the locals to identify what type of repair is going to be necessary.”
Though Edwards pointed out that the project may not be able to see all 500 structures repaired, the number of bridges expected to undergo servicing will still be an historic amount.