DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A half-million dollar project to rebuild a Denham Springs bridge is finally complete.
Leaders in Livingston Parish are cheering what they say was an effort many years in the making, while drivers say they're getting around a little more conveniently.
The Wax Road Bridge is back.
"It's kind of like Christmas," said Darrell Jarreau, the contractor of a home currently under construction near the bridge.
Parish leaders and transportation crews officially opened the new Wax Road Bridge over Grays Creek on Monday.
"It's been a long time coming," said Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks. “It took a little time to get it done."
Ricks said replacing the old wooden bridge was on the parish's to-do list since 1997. The bridge was closed to traffic a number of times over the years for repairs. Construction of a new bridge finally began in September 2014.
"It was all obviously for safety precautions. We didn't want anybody to get hurt and neither did the state. We constructed it out of concrete which makes it nice with a lot of new limestone and drainage pipes underneath so the water will flow through a lot better than what it was doing. The other bridge was just too unsafe. It was made out of the old timbers," Ricks added.
Safety was first and a big inconvenience was second. While the bridge was closed, drivers were forced to take longer routes on their way to Juban Road or LA 16.
You haven't been able to come across this bridge to get home in about a year?
"No, no," Donna Francisco answered. we've had to go around."
While the bridge being closed was a big headache for people in the nearby neighborhood, it also caused a bit of a hassle for folks working in the area, like a group of construction workers.
Jarreau is building a house just a few hundred feet from the bridge.
"It saves me about 10 minutes coming this way. I was real proud to see y'all out here this morning," he said.
Through an engineering fund, the city paid for about one-third of the project. It totaled $567,000.
According to Ricks, the rest of the money was from the state.