“Fix it!”: Frustration builds as Yscloskey Bridge still out of service to fishermen and boaters

The bridge lift has been broken since Hurricane Ida’s landfall in August 2021.
Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 4:38 PM CDT
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ST. BERNARD PARISH (WVUE) - Near Shell Beach in St. Bernard Parish, boaters and commercial fishermen are frustrated because the Yscloskey Bridge is still out of service. They say it’s costing them time and money just to get to work on the water.

“It takes over an hour to leave here and run out of Hopedale, come back the other way just to get right there-- which is a mile away,” said Frank Campo of Campo’s Marina in Shell Beach.

He said because the Yscloskey Bridge doesn’t lift for boats to pass, boaters must go around.

“The fuel cost is $5/gallon, you gotta run around another 15 miles to come back to point ‘A’,” said Robert Campo, who also works at the marina. “It’s a pain in the neck.”

For nearly a year now, the Yscloskey Bridge has been out of service since it was damaged during Hurricane Ida. The damage keeps the bridge from lifting up to boat traffic.

“It seems like this bridge got put on the backburner you know as most bridges do, this one’s really on the back burner,” said Robert.

In these parts of lower St. Bernard Parish, the fishing industry is the lifeblood of the community. But repairs to the bridge have yet to be made.

“Fix it! It don’t take, this is not rocket science to fix that bridge,” said Frank.

Guy McInnis, parish president, said the structure of the bridge was wracked during Hurricane Ida’s damaging winds and water. The bridge needs new traffic gates and electrical wiring.

“If the federal government just would give us the money we can take care of these small problems,” he said. “For our fishermen, it is a disaster.”

He said this ‘small problem’ is having a huge impact on the local economy.

“Our fishermen go out there every day for the community and put food on our plates and for us not to get on this Yscloskey Bridge sooner on the federal level is mind-boggling.”

McInnis said working with FEMA is challenging and the project for repairs was only just approved. But there are still a lot of unknowns for when the bridge will be operational again.

“We’re not doing our job as government officials at the local, state, and federal level when it comes to this one little bridge, right? It’s way too long to get something like that fixed,” said McInnis.

And the community is feeling it.

“What I see going on over there doesn’t look like a whole lot you know,” said Robert.

“We just need the damn thing fixed!” said Frank. “Put it back in operation and everybody will be happy.”

McInnis said as of right now, there is no timeline for when the bridge should be repaired.

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