Bridge repair in Livingston Parish on hold

HOLDEN, LA (WAFB) - Livingston Parish's top bridge project is on hold. Crews blocked of the James Chapel Road bridge in September, to replace the wood structure with concrete. The structure is up, but neighbors say the road is still closed.

"We just want to know when it's going to be done," said Susie McLee, who lives near the bridge. She says she called parish officials several times to see just when the road closed signs would be coming down. She says she was told January 31 would be the latest.

But that day has come and gone, even though months ago that bridge was high on the priority list.

"If we don't get this thing changed out, peoples going to crucify us," said the parish DPW Director, Sam Digirolamo, in May 2013. "It's our number one priority bridge."

Digirolamo called the James Chapel bridge one of the seven worst bridges in the parish. Through a federally funded grant, those bridges would get a major workover. Replacing the wood with concrete.

Tuesday, by phone, Digirolamo told us he believed the work would be done by now. But, they've run into a big problem and had to stop work. He says the material used to reinforce the bridge's foundation did not meet certain specifications. So for now, the project is on hold.

"We're frustrated. Me and all the neighbors. Everybody out here, we're all frustrated," said McLee.

In the meantime, some people are taking matters into their own hands and removing the road blocks to use the bridge. For McLee, she says the closure could send her searching for another place to live, where she can come and go easily.

"I want to move from here, cause that's such an inconvenience for me," said McLee.

Digirolamo says they are waiting to talk with the contractor on the job, to figure out hoe much backfill needs to be removed, so they can finish the project and open the road.

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