RAMAH, LA (WAFB) - It's a straight shot to camps for hunters and fisherman, but right now the road off the Ramah exit, in Iberville Parish, is blocked. Officials say Highway 3000 will be closed for the next eight months to repair a bridge. Residents say the project is creating more trouble than it's worth.
"They say there's some bad pilings under it. Right now they're doing a test pile," said Linda Dees, owner of L&L Bait & Grocery. Her store is just off the Ramah exit and is the only place around for people to stop and get a snack.
But lately the line inside L&L has been lacking, Dees says that's thanks to the construction that's just down the road.
According to Iberville Councilman Edward Songy when the state inspected the bridge on Highway 3000, they found it was severely damaged. The state received federal funds to fix it. Songy says if the state had to move quickly, if it delayed the project, the federal money could have been taken away.
"They've shut down the bridge, shut down all the traffic and all the people that come through here fishing ... The hunters are getting ready for hunting season," Dees said, adding this is her busy time of year for business.
She says the highway is the way many hunters and fisherman get to their camps. The store owners circulated a petition and got more than 600 signatures to have a temporary bridge put in while the other work is being completed. They've not yet heard if that will happen.
In the meantime, the store has posted directions to another bridge that's five miles away, for all the out-of-towners.
"They have no idea where Munson Lane is," Dees said.
Songy says the bridge on that road is slated to be repaired by the parish, once the bridge on 3000 is finished.
However, those who drive the detour say it adds too much travel time to what used to be a quick trip. One man we spoke with at the grocery store says the new route adds two and a half hours to his day.
Councilman Songy says the road closed signs will stay.
For Dees' business, the owners are hoping their petition will be heard. Otherwise she says the detour will be driving away the customers they depend on.
"Going to hurt our business, going to really put a nick in our business."