Westlake residents voicing frustration over new bridge delays - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Westlake residents voicing frustration over new bridge delays

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) -

With the Miller Avenue bridge closed for construction, traffic in and out of Westlake has been a headache.

"It's been terrible. The school is right here and we have to go all the way down Sampson Street with all the traffic," said Sandra Wing, Westlake resident.

"I had to detour and burn more gas. Usually we just get off the bridge and come around and we are here," said Monica Gobert.

Motorists have had to detour since November while crews work to build a new $1.5 million bridge.

"The project seems to be progressing slowly. I very seldom see anyone working over there," said Tom Conner, Westlake resident.

Conner is one of many residents who walk daily to check up on the progress. Wednesday appeared to be one of those off days.

"It looks like it did three weeks ago. Nothing has changed," said Wing.

Calcasieu Parish Police Juror Hal McMillin has heard it all.

"The frustration factor ... everywhere I go... whether it's a grocery store, or recreation center, or taxidermy shop. This was the topic of discussion at the senior Sunday school class at First Baptist Church. It's frustrating and people really want some answers," said McMillin.

To get those answers, KPLC called contractor Cecil Gassiott. He said the Westlake bridge is one of two projects his crew is working on for the state. Gassiott said had DOTD allowed them to start the project six months earlier, this wouldn't be a problem.

While the majority of the infrastructure for the bridge is done, Gassiott said all that is left is to pour 20 -feet of concrete on the north end and another 10-to-20 feet on the south end, barrier rails and some asphalt work. 

"He said he's going to have a crew out here Monday. When they start, I'm holding his feet to the fire that once they start, they will finish this project. But we are still a month and a half out on what he's telling me on the minimum of getting it done right," said McMillin.

Just like waiting for the trains, Westlake residents are used to having their patience tested.

"It's just very frustrating to see nothing being done. If there was something being done, just anything you could say, well, they are trying. But they are not even trying in my opinion," said Conner.

"I was hoping it would be done before the school year ended, but school is almost out now. However, we still want a bridge no matter what," said Wing.

Gassiott said they will be there on Monday to resume work. Gassiott expects it to take up to another 72 days to complete. Even so, that's still within their completion date for the contract.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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