ST. HELENA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The rebuilt Greensburg Bridge on LA 10 was reopened Friday, roughly 15 months after the original structure was left impassible due to damage caused by the August 2016 flood.
The support system of the old bridge was damaged during the last flood, forcing it to be torn down.
"It was just a sight. I could just not fail to be out here to see this happen," said Edgar Gordon, a St. Helena resident who stopped to watch construction crews tear down the road closed signs.
The reconstruction project cut off LA 10, a key artery that connects the east and west sides of the parish. Rep. Robby Carter, D-Amite, says the 20+ mile detour has been a big inconvenience to his constituents. "I've gotten five times as many calls on this project as any other issue that's came up over the last 14 years," Carter said.
Compared to the old structure, the new bridge is slightly wider. The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says it cost $2.1 million to build and will last more than 40 years.
"I appreciate the public's patience as we built this new structure. There were talks early in the process of building a temporary bridge. However, the decision to build a new bridge, that doesn't have weight restrictions will be beneficial in the long run," said DOTD Sec. Shawn D. Wilson.
The reopening of LA 10 could not come soon enough for many in the community. "It's all everybody talks about," said Greensburg resident, Betty Bennett.
At the Greensburg Market, owner, Michael Kramer, says his store has struggled over the past year. Half of his customers live on the other side of the bridge and some did not want to take the detour. "I've been going every day and checking on the progress," Kramer said, noting that he believes construction was too slow and hurt the economy. "I know someone who opened a new business and they just shut it down."
Still, Carter says he is hopeful that with the flood in the rearview mirror, things will bounce back. "I really think the business in Greensburg will see a boon once this is opened back up," he said.