Broken Bridge on Southern campus frustrates students and faculty

Broken bridge on Southern's campus frustrates students and facility
Part of the bridge collapsed, but no one was hurt (Source: Cheryl Mercedes)
Part of the bridge collapsed, but no one was hurt (Source: Cheryl Mercedes)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A sidewalk used by students at Southern University collapsed over a river that runs through campus.

No one was hurt while crossing the bridge on Roosevelt Steptoe Drive. But it is causing a traffic headache.

Barricades, construction warnings, and caution lights have become familiar signs of disappointment for Southern University students. Roosevelt Steptoe Drive is the street most law school students cross to park their cars.

"It's been a big inconvenience, I guess. It's been broken or disposed of, since at least last summer," Tracy LeDuff said.

"It seems like it's broken or always messed up or something," Robert Doggett said.

Charles Fontenot said he and his friends have been concerned about the safety of the road since they started noticing cracks in the concrete last August.

"Whether or not it's going to be safe? Whether or not it'll be falling out from underneath us," Charles Fontenot said.

The sidewalk, directly over a culvert collapsed on Thursday. The road is now open to only foot traffic.

"It's definitely an inconvenience because we have to take the other way around instead of coming through here," a Southern University Law student said.

Southern University spokesman, Ed Pratt, said the busted road is a sign of a weakening infrastructure that is being felt all over campus.

"What you have is a pipe structure beneath the street here that's cracked and water came out of it. The water came out and eroded the dirt around it, which caused that collapse," Pratt said.

Pratt said the contract for the repair work is out for bid but it could be nine months before students are able to drive over the bridge again. Most say, as long as there is progress, they really don't mind taking the scenic route.

"It's not that bad. I went to LSU and it was way worse, half a mile every day," Doggett said.

"I'm glad they are doing something," LeDuff said.

Southern University has set up a meeting with the state next week to discuss the repairs.

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