AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Many Avoyelles residents know there are some old small bridges around the parish that have seen better days. But officials are proud to say they'll be making big progress in that department, with plans to replace a record amount for a single year.
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The parish has an off-system bridge program with the Department of Transportation and Development. There are about 95 structures they're keeping an eye on; more than 40 of them are timber bridges.
The number one priority on the list is Little River Bridge. The pass in the Spring Bayou area is just a few feet long and in need of repairs.
It’s not the only one.
Unfortunately, the cost of fixing and maintaining structures like Little River Bridge is pretty high.
Police Jury President Charles Jones said in the program they replace a timber bridge or two every other year with concrete structures which is an easier and cheaper option.
This year, he said the parish has secured enough funds to replace not only Little River Bridge, but seven others that are also in desperate need of attention. Those include M. Bryant/E. Bryant Bridge, Faith Baptist Mission Bridge, Bill Belt Bridge, Carl Hunt Bridge, German Bayou Bridge, Katie Lane Bridge, and Leo Morrow Bridge.
Jones said the move won't just help the parish save money, but maybe even lives.
"With the concrete structures, we just feel safer,” said Jones. “We've had a number of incidents in the parish with timber structures, and we're thankful that we're able to replace some of these structures. This year is going to be our best year."
The police jury hopes to get started on the bridges within the next 90 days.