New Tensas River Bridge to open today

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Clayton — The new Tensas River Bridge in Clayton will open today.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge will be at 10 a.m., and will officially mark the completion of the four-laning of Louisiana 15.

The highway is now four-laned from Rayville to Vidalia.

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The project to four-lane the highway began in 1992, and the new bridge will carry southbound traffic into Clayton.

“This project took a long time, but we made it,” said Sen. Noble Ellington — who served as the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

“It has been a dream to see this project happen, and it can mean a tremendous amount for north Louisiana to get us hooked up with South Mississippi,” Ellington said.

Because the highway has been four-laned, a good portion of travel time can be saved for motorists, Ellington said.

“It used to be three hours from my house just south of Winnsboro to Baton Rouge,” he said. “Now it’s about 2 hours and 45 minutes.”

Ellington will attend the ceremony along with House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. James Fannin, District 21 Rep. Andy Anders, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Chair Cedric Grant and other parish and local officials.

The Tensas River Bridge and its approaches were built by Coastal Bridge Co., LLC, and was allotted $475,380 for its completion.

The four-laning project was part of the larger, $4.9 billion Louisiana state Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development Program.

The aim of the program — created by the legislature in 1989 — is to enhance economic development in the state by investing in transportation projects.

Funding for the program comes from a $0.04 per gallon gasoline tax.