LACOMBE, La. -- One is already closed because it's so dangerous. A dozen others aren't far behind.
We're talking about the status of bridges in St. Tammy Parish, and there isn't much the parish can do about it.
The Public Works Department shut down the Grand Avenue bridge in Lacombe last week. Engineers say it was already unstable, but recent rains have made it worse.
"We have a lot of the bridges all over the parish starting to show their age. Our population growth, traffic over them, they're showing signs of wear," said Public Works Director Shannon Davis.
Of the 90 bridges in the parish, half are under weight restrictions because of the shape they're in. A dozen of those are of particular concern, because their conditions are close to requiring closure, like Grand Avenue.
The situation isn't just on residents' radar.
"Roadways, bridges, any access point is paramount for public safety. It's the way we arrive to do the job we're here to do, life-saving and property conservation," said St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District #12 Chief Kris Hines. "It's what we do."
The problem for the parish is when a bridge gets to the point of needing restrictions like on Million Dollar Road, there's nothing the Public Works Department can do but warn about it because anything more costs money.
A full bridge replacement costs at least $300,000. The parish gets money from the state to knock out at least two of those a year, and a local tax helps, but bridges often take a backseat to streets and drainage, until things get bad.
"We watch 'em and like I said, when we think it poses a danger to the public, we shut them down," Davis said.
Emergency agencies say the parish keeps them on top of situations that could slow them down.
But for people, the parish just has a plea for patience.
Work on the Lacombe bridge that was closed isn't expected to start for another two weeks. After that, it could be two more weeks before it's open again.