BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- The 52-year-old Bob Pettit Bridge is officially closed for repairs, leaving businesses in the area worried about the next few months.
This closure directly affects those that live around and use Tigerland. The mayor’s office estimates that the bridge will be closed until at least “the middle of next year”.
Walid Badawi, the manager of Tiger Vape, believes this closure will be tough for his customers.
“Future looks a little bit slow right now. A Lot of people come into Tigerland, whether it be for bars or for basic groceries,” said Badawi.
A statement from the Mayor’s office says in part, “the bridge is beyond its lifespan and will be replaced with a safer, more durable structure that allows for better drainage”. The rebuilding process should last until mid-2022 according to the Mayor’s Office but businesses say they are already feeling the effects of the closure.
“It’s definitely affected our business,” said Badawi.
Cole Brignac works at a convenience store next door, he said the project will detour regular customers, especially those who walk. Drivers can still access the area through Brightside Drive.
“We get a lot of foot traffic coming over the bridge. It doesn’t seem like a big deal because all you have to do is go right around and go down Alvin but it’s a big deal because it’s that little extra effort that might make a difference, ” said Brignac.
For now, owners in the area are hoping business will pick back up eventually and that the city will step in to help.
“Hopefully people figure out a new way to get over here or maybe the city will put up a decent walking bridge,” Brignac said.
“We doubt such a project would be approved by state and federal regulators,” the Mayor’s office said in a statement about the possibility of a pedestrian bridge. “Seeking approval would tremendously delay the bridge replacement, which cannot be delayed any longer due to safety concerns.”