Long highway detour frustrates drivers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Long highway detour frustrates drivers

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DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) -

An old bridge on Highway 190, just west of DeRidder, is receiving some much needed maintenance and it's becoming frustrating for some residents and travelers.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development posted detour signs for drivers to go around the closed part of the highway. 

The DOTD detour route is 35 miles long.

"The actual detour is through Singer and Merryville along (highway) 27 and the west portion of (highway) 190. It's a fairly lengthy detour," said Steve Jiles, District Administrator for the DOTD. 

Construction on the old bridge began two weeks ago, according to Jiles. All that's left to do are the asphalt approaches on both sides of the bridge and install guard rails.

"We've been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week on that bridge. We've devoted a heavy work force to it to build this bridge within two weeks," Jiles said.

But the 35-mile-long detour has turned many drivers, especially truckers, to taking local roads around the construction. The problem with finding shorter detours is the heavier trucks may be causing damage to the local streets. 

"We don't condone trucks taking the local routes and we can't police it either. You know, that expectation falls upon the local jurisdiction. All we can do is try to make sure our route, our detour route, is properly signed for these truckers," Jiles said.

And the streets are properly signed with bright orange detour signs. 

Beauregard Parish Administrator Bobby Hennigan said if there is any damage to the parish roads, the parish will fix them to make them safe for travel. 

But during the remainder of the bridge construction and road closure, drivers are advised to follow the DOTD posted detour signs at least until April 5, 2013 when the bridge project is expected to be complete.

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