An open letter to Senator Rick Ward, III and Parish President Riley "PeeWee" Berthelot sent to the West Side Journal as a letter to the editor.
I think the situation with the twin bridges that carry Louisiana Highway 1 over the Intracoastal Canal has reached a crisis stage. The DOTD has reported that these bridges are overage and have exceeded their useful life span. There have been several emergency repairs to these bridges, most recently when steel plates had to be placed on the roadways. This was followed immediately by a dump truck striking the southbound bridge necessitating further emergency repairs. These bridges are moribund and being maintained on life support.
Bridges have been known to collapse suddenly and dump vehicles into the water below. I fear that I will hear one day that these bridges have collapsed and people have died as a result.
Even if these bridges were in sound condition, they are inadequate for the traffic demands of today. Recently, it took me forty-five minutes just to cross the Intracoastal Canal while proceeding north. Such traffic delays occur daily in the afternoon.
What are we going to do about it? These bridges are not part of the federal highway system, so we cannot expect help from the federal government. It is up to us in Louisiana to fix this mess. So far, I see nothing being done.
The Louisiana Legislature convenes on April 8. By that time, we should have pre-filed a bill to provide emergency funding to:
Construct new and larger bridges to carry Louisiana Highway 1 over the Intracoastal Waterway
Construct a connector from Louisiana Highway 415 to Louisiana Highway 1
Without money to build new bridges, I fear nothing will happen until we are fishing cars and bodies out of the Intracoastal Waterway.
May the more than 25,000 citizens of West Baton Rouge Parish expect any action from you?