Metairie residents face dangerous detour after bridge collapse

Natalie Shepherd talks about a collapsed pedestrian bridge in Jefferson Parish.

METAIRIE -- Residents in Metairie are facing a dangerous detour after a pedestrian bridge has collapsed.

The collapse happened last fall, and now anyone walking along the road now travels through a rough patch of dirt and rocks next to a steady stream of traffic to get across the railroad tracks.

Longtime resident Carol Staiano said she wants to know why Jefferson Parish hasn't replaced it.

"Well, you walk through mud and rocks and on the street," Staiano said. 

People were forced into the street last November, she said, when the sidewalk bridge over a deep ditch next to the railroad tracks collapsed and was removed by Jefferson Parish. Staiano described it as a bridge that was well-traveled by people in the neighborhood.

"They walk over to Rouses, and my husband used to take the airport bus and he would walk over there," she said. "I see a lot of people walking to the bus, Planet Fitness or Rouses."

Philip Ehrhardt is one of those people.

"I think it's probably a safety hazard, going out into the street, crossing over these railroad tracks," he said.

Ehrhardt said he was walking home after dropping his truck off at a nearby Goodyear for repairs.

"I thought when they took the bridge down they were just going to do some repair work. I didn't know it was going to be totally removed," he said.
  
The parish did put up reflective signs that warn walkers the sidewalk ends.

Another concern for residents is a school bus that drop kids off on one side of the tracks. The students have to hurry back across the road in the street to get home.

"You know, children have to be watched," Staiano said. "So I wouldn't want to see anybody get hurt. It's sort of an accident waiting to happen."

Staiano's husband did contact Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken.

"He did get a response from them, but they said it might be a long time because they might want to close in the ditch before they built another little pathway," she said. 

Staiano said she doesn't think walkers along Labarre Road should have to wait.

"I think they could come and build a little walkway across here," she said. "I mean, don't you think?" 

Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken did respond to this Action Report. She said Jefferson Parish does have a plan to fix the problem, but it is more complicated than it appears.

We'll have that part of the story coming up on Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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