Black River bridge, other highway projects still underway

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2001

JONESVILLE, La. – Construction of a new bridge across the Black River between Wildsville and Jonesville continues — even though the work can’t easily be seen.

That’s because crews are working inside a concrete cofferdam, still working to construct piers for the project.

&uot;But work is still going on -you just can’t see it, because they’re down in the water,&uot;&160;said Ricky Moon, district construction engineers for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Johnson Brothers Construction started working in February on the four-lane, concrete-and-steel bridge, which is expected to cost $15 million. That cost does not include construction of approaches to the bridge, which will cost an estimated $14 million.

Bids will be taken next year for construction of the approaches, Moon said. The bridge and approaches should be finished and open for traffic in late 2003 or early 2004. At that time, the 68-year-old bridge that now spans the river will be demolished.

Replacement of the bridge is part of a project to four-lane U.S. 84 and other highways along the historic El Camino Real trail, which ran from Brunswick, Ga., to El Paso, Texas.

Meanwhile, crews are also working to four-lane a section of Louisiana 15 between Sicily Island and Peck in Catahoula Parish, Moon said.

&uot;In the next few weeks, we’ll be ready to move traffic to the two new lanes&uot; to work on improving the existing two lanes, Moon said.

&uot;And we’ll build another bridge in that section,&uot; he said. &uot;But it will be a while – perhaps spring to early summer of next year – before we open up all four lanes to traffic.&uot;

That project is expected to cost $5.5 million to build, he said.

In the next two weeks, D&J Construction Co. will also start construction of a center turn lane on U.S. 84 at Airport Road. That project, which should only take two weeks to finish, will cost about $45,000, Moon said.

He also noted that construction of a bicycle trail along Louisiana 15 from Vidalia to the south end of Concordia Parish was completed about two weeks ago.