‘65 miles one way...just to get my mail’: Allen Parish residents concerned about U.S. 190 closure

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 12:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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REEVES, La. (KPLC) - U.S. 190 near the Calcasieu River Bridge in Allen Parish will be closed for emergency bridge repairs starting July 31.

The closure means many residents will be trapped within their communities, facing limited access to schools, healthcare facilities and other essential services.

The Allen Parish Ambulance Service warns residents on the east side of the LeBlanc and Reeves community that response times from emergency services may be longer during the closure.

“I’m worried about the little people, the locals like us, who live here,” said Reeves resident Faye Ardoin. “If I was sick, I live 3 miles this way. The ambulance has to come from this side. How are they going to get to me? They’ll have to go 65 miles around.”

Allen Parish Ambulance officials said they will staff the area to the best of their ability and have reached out to other emergency services to assist during this time.

According to the DOTD, the bridge closure is necessary following a recent load rating analysis, which indicated structurally deficient piles. This forced the capacity of the bridge to be reduced to 10 to 15 tons.

The closure will disrupt residents’ daily routines and increase travel times significantly.

“We are going to be without a way to get hospital, medicine, food, anything that we want to do here, because Kinder is our community as well as living in Reeves. We use Kinder. Reeves lost their post office about when the storm came in, so we had none. We have to go to Kinder to get our mail. So now at $3.15 a gallon, I can drive 65 miles one way and 65 miles back to check my mail,” Ardoin said.

The timeline for the repair remains uncertain, adding to the communities’ anxieties.

“We all know our weather is unpredictable. I don’t think it’s gonna take a little time. It will probably take a lot,” Ardoin said.

DOTD officials said crews will work daily until the repairs are completed, weather permitting.