Roads, bridges opened following August flood closed again

Ashley Rodrigue talks about road closures in Tangipahoa Parish since floods impacted the area.

ROBERT, La. --  When Danny Long cranks up his tow truck for a call, the detour sign in front of his shop on Highway 22 and Highway 445 in Robert is a reminder to check the area's road closures.

It's been a new addition to his daily routine since the flood three weeks ago.

"It makes it really hard for people traveling because you have to, what's the old saying, go around the elbow to get to the thumb," said Long.

There are about half a dozen closures across Tangipahoa Parish awaiting emergency bridge repairs, including Highway 1063 in Independence and Highway 1046 in Amite.  Many had damage from the floods in March and August, including Highway 1054, which is needing a complete rebuild.  After initial inspections and openings following the recent flood, several are ending up back behind orange cones as new issues are discovered, like the bridge on Highway 22.

"We actually let (awarded) the project August 10, well subsequently, the floods came and further damage occurred, so now we're working to expedite that contract but we don't have an estimated time frame for construction yet," said DOTD Spokeswoman Bambi Hall.

Hearing that strikes a nerve for drivers like Long.

"It's terrible," he said, "I think they ought to step up and get to it right away and repair the roads."

DOTD says it is working diligently to address all of the emergency work but it can only move as fast as the contractual process allows.

"You get the project, you go through finalization of the contract between us and the contractor, then they may have an assembly period depending on what type of materials are needed to make the repairs," said Hall, "That could be 30 to 90 to 120 days."

While DOTD is pleading for patience, drivers like long will continue cooperating with pre-trip closure checks.

Drivers can keep up with the status of road closures, conditions and construction on www.511LA.org, or by calling 511 from their telephone. The voice-activated 511 Traveler Information System is available to most wireless and landline telephone users. Out-of-state travelers can access the system by calling 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). 

(© 2016 WWL)


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