Residents say Houston River Road bridge construction taking too - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Residents say Houston River Road bridge construction taking too long

(Source: Theresa Schmidt) (Source: Theresa Schmidt)
SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) -

Southwest Louisiana growing pains include increased traffic--that tries the patience of many trying to get where they need to go, such as one area where bridge construction has some residents wringing their hands.

The locals will tell you highway 27 near Houston river road used to be like a quiet, country backroad.  No more-- Joeanna Gaspard says now it's more like:

"The I-10 Bridge in the mornings and when everybody's getting off work," said Gaspard.

At rush hour it's so bad not even 55 flavors are enough to coax most people out of the traffic line to get a snow cone after a long day at work.

"They are afraid that they will not be able to get back in line and be sitting here at least 30 minutes,"she said.

So, residents say the bridge construction underway on Houston River Road between Claiborne and Highway 27 is just adding to the congestion and should be done by now.

Resident Don Chamblee says he understands that inconvenience is sometimes the price of progress..

"We all complain about it but there's nothing we can do, we just wait it out.  But they tell us it's supposed to be finished sometime in July.  That's right around the corner," Chamblee said.

Chamblee points out there have been a lot of rainy days. But like others, he has noticed days when no work took place, but says that's not unusual for construction jobs. He looks forward to bridge completion.

"If it wasn't for the amount of traffic that we've inherited in the last year it wouldn't have really been a very big problem at all. But now that we have this, it would have been nice to have this through route to help us get away from Highway 27 and all the traffic situation."

Those who live west of the bridge have to detour via Claiborne and then on Jim Pickens road.  Resident Casey Cholley says it's a safety hazard for those turning onto 27 from Pickens because there's no traffic light to assist when traffic is bumper to bumper to bumper.  He's especially concerned about young, inexperienced drivers on that route.

Parish officials say they expect to open the new bridge to traffic in august and that their goal is to get it open before school starts.

Police juror Francis Andrepont, of that area, says he's doing all he can to keep the wheels in motion and move the project forward.

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