Atchafalaya Basin Bridge Work

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - 12:38pm

If you travel on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, expect major delays. But the traffic jams now will make your drive smoother down the road. Our Emily Turner traveled across the bridge to see what the construction is all about.

There are plenty of orange cones, flashing lights, and big white signs instructing motorists to merge into one lane. It’s all for a road project the DOTD says will only take three weeks, but for some drivers, that’s just too long!

Monday a much needed facelift project for Atchafalaya Basin Bridge began, officials say three weeks of work done only during the day will fix 20-plus years of potholes, cracks, and other safety hazards that pose dangers for drivers. The repairs will cover a little over nine miles beginning at Whiskey Bay all the way to Henderson. One lane in each direction is closed, meaning delays for the estimated 40,000 motorists that take the bridge daily.

For business owners like Tommy Diesi, delays aren’t all that bad. He owns Diesi’s Lucky Capitol and says, “I don’t mind it at all because people will stop off and get what they need.”

But for regular motorists like Katie Stanley and Mark Landry, three weeks of lane closure brings nothing but a headache. Stanley says, “That’s cars, that’s eighteen wheelers, it’s everything going through at the same time.”

Police say travelers can expect hours of delays during peak times and suggest using Highway 190 as an alternate route. But for this couple living in Henderson, sitting in a standstill is better than taking the long way. Landry says, “I’m not going to go all the way around just to come right back through, It’ll take forever. Gas is terrible, everything terrible. Ya, we’ll just sit on the bridge and wait.”

The DOTD says this $900,000 project is set for completion by February 16.