Over 1,600 Louisiana Bridges Found To Be in “Poor” Condition
According to the United States Department of Transportation, more than 1,600 bridges are in "poor" condition in Louisiana.
Louisiana DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson says the state has fallen behind on the maintenance of roads and bridges due to a lack of funding. Currently across the state, 135 bridges are closed because of unsafe conditions. USDOT also found 3,411 miles of Louisiana roadways are in "poor" condition. Louisiana recently scored a D+ on the White House’s infrastructure report card.
Wilson said that since he's been LaDOTD Secretary, the state has spent over a billion dollars on repairing bridges, and it's still not enough. He also added that even though the department has fallen behind, any bridge that is open has been checked by LaDOTD and is safe to travel across.
According to Wilson, every bridge in Louisiana is inspected once every two years, and if a structure is deemed unsafe, it's immediately closed off to traffic. He went on to say that bridges said to be "poor" in condition are not unsafe, they're just old. Those bridges may also have no shoulders, narrow lanes, or are steeper than the department would like to see.
There are close to 13,000 bridges in Louisiana, so I know it's quite the undertaking keeping them in working order. When you think about it, most bridges in Louisiana were built when Huey P. Long was governor, which means a vast majority of the state's bridges were constructed in the 1930s.
The I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge was opened in 1952, so it speaks highly of the people who built it that it has lasted this long with so much more traffic than it was designed to handle, but something has to give eventually. We desperately need a new bridge.