Opelousas bridge in danger of collapsing

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY)- A heavily traveled bridge in Opelousas is in danger of closing if repairs aren’t made soon.

The bridge is located at the Judson Walsh exit.

The weight limit was just lowered to 5 tons, which is lowest weight limit before a bridge is forced to close.

This 5-ton weight limit means that buses and heavy trucks cannot pass over the bridge which is located right outside the parish line.

Even though the bridge is on city property, St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot says the parish and the city are working together try to find funds to fix the bridge.

“That bridge is right at the parish line pretty much so we want to work together as government, that’s the only way we can survive in this very low-level budgeting. In fact, I want to express my disappointment to the legislature that they did not pass the governors fuel tax or any part of it. Because that’s the fuel tax that could’ve actually rescued a lot of these bridges from the condition they’re in,” said Fontenot.

According to Fontenot that tax money could have gone into the estimated $100,000 worth of repairs that need to make the bridge usable.

Residents and local business owners are upset that nothing has been done to save the bridge and are worried about the amount of time it will eventually take to fix it.

Local business owner Patrick Artall said:  “They will eventually have to close it to fix it and it’s going to be a real big inconvenience for people. I have a yard that I cut right on the other side, so I have to make a big block to get to it. So it’s going to be inconvenient for a while.”

According to Fontenot in order to properly fix the bridge, the top piece of concrete would have to be removed and the bottom wooden support of the bridge would have to be replaced with a concrete substructure. Which could cost way more than the estimates

That could cost way more than the estimated $100,000.

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