Black River bridge scheduled to open in 2008

Published 11:41 pm Friday, September 7, 2007

Jonesville — If all goes according to plan, the new bridge over the Black River in Jonesville will be open for traffic by early summer 2008.

The five lane bridge, under construction for several years, should be completed for traffic by late May or early June, Sen. Noble Ellington said.

According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the James Construction Group LLC, of Baton Rouge, is completing the bridge at a cost of $31,302,235.

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The bridge span — standing 40 feet higher than the current bridge — was completed in 2003 at a cost of approximately $15 million by Johnson Brothers construction.

The old bridge will be removed once construction is completed.

The construction left to complete the bridge is approach construction, which includes ramps to reach the bridge span.

The Concordia Parish side of the bridge is currently 53 percent completed, and $10,195,838 have been spent on that approach, according to the Department of Transportation.

The Catahoula Parish side is approximately 31 percent complete, and a total of $3,813,897 have been spent on approaches for that side of the river, according to the Department of Transportation.

Because the project was granted more money than was expected, the project will continue into Jonesville, Ellington said.

“Whereas it was going to be a two-lane road when they came off the bridge, now it is going to be a five lane,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense to be going from a five-lane straight to a two lane.”

From there, the five lane will narrow to three lanes — an east and west-bound lane with a center turning lane — which will in turn narrow back to two-lane traffic at about the Catahoula Medical Complex.

All of the highway — U.S. 84 — in the town will also be resurfaced, Ellington said.