Long-delayed bridge in Houma could open soon - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Long-delayed bridge in Houma could open soon

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Houma, La. - Soon.  That's the word Angela Lapeyrouse hears over and over again.  The Prospect Bridge linking Houma to her business will open... soon.

"I find since the last time we talked, the traffic's gotten worse and everyone getting pretty frustrated and it's time that it needs to be done already," she says.

The bridge crossing Bayou Terrebonne underwent final inspection Wednesday. Department of Transportation and Development engineers looked at all of the signals, lifts and gears to make sure everything worked. They made a list of repairs that need to be finished before the bridge opens to traffic.

"We're looking at anywhere from several days to maybe a couple of weeks, depending on how long the punch list is and how extensive some of the repairs are," says Christopher Rogers, DOTD project engineer. "We don't expect it to be too bad.  I know everybody's looking forward to getting this bridge completed. We are too."

James Construction Group began building this bridge in 2010. It was originally scheduled to be finished in the spring of this year but DOTD says the company ran into problems with equipment and the weather.

The company is also building a bridge across Bayou Lafourche in Larose. That span was supposed to open in October but now the DOTD says it could be another couple of months.

The DOTD is charging James Construction $5,000 each day the projects go over schedule. The total fines for this bridge alone are now more than $300,000.

DOTD engineers say, once the Prospect Bridge opens, it should improve traffic in this area tremendously.

"This bridge, with six lanes and the new roadway and improvements, it will really move a lot of traffic," says Rogers.

It can't open fast enough for Lapeyrouse's store. The busy holiday and Carnival seasons are coming up soon.

"Once it clears up, it's going to be so much better for us as a business because we lost so many of our customers that live on the other side of town because it takes them so long to get back and forth," says Lapeyrouse.

The long wait may soon be over.

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