What price progress?

In this case, progress means another of the Louisiana Bridge Series races will be forced temporarily to the ground because of repairs to one of the local spans crossing the Mississippi River.

This year, it’s the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run that will stick to the streets as opposed to crossing the river from East Bank to West Bank. Sandblasting is being done on the Huey, and race director Mike Wattigny said the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development wouldn’t grant him permission to stage the fifth annual 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race on the bridge this year.

A similar fate befell the other two races in the Louisiana Bridge Run Series in 2016. The United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run became an “Under the Bridge Run” last year because of work on the Hale Boggs Bridge, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent Connection Race was staged on the Mississippi River levee last year because of repairs to the CCC.

Wattigny said he was disappointed that the fifth anniversary of his bridge race will be a road race, however he did design a course that features a ¼-mile stretch up the Bridge City Avenue on-ramp to the Huey. That will provide a decent climb for the 1,000 expected participants, as well as a swift return to the streets on the decline.

The 5K will begin at 8 a.m. at the Holy Guardian Angel Church’s Gumbo Festival Park in Bridge City and end in the same place. A portion of the race will be on the river levee, as well.

“It’s not the view that people come to the bridge series races for,” Wattigny said. “People love the sweeping panoramic views you get from the bridges. But even had we gotten permission to run this race over the entirety of the bridge, it wouldn’t have been the same. The bridge is draped to keep the dust from the sandblasting from flying all over, and people wouldn’t have been able to get the great view anyway. When we realized that, there was no need to push the issue.”

Kenner’s Ian Carr won the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run in 2016 with a 5K time of 15 minutes, 58 seconds. Carr has won the title of “King of the Mississippi” all four years of the Louisiana Bridge Run Series, and he won the first leg of the 2017 series with a victory in the United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run. Houma’s Kim Rister led all women in the Huey last year with a time of 19:48.

Previous Huey races have attracted as many as 2,000 runners, but Wattigny expects the total to be lower this year because the race will be held primarily on the streets.

“The numbers are down, but not out,” he said. “The projection is based solely on the number of people that actually registered for the races last year that were on the ground. We’ll come back strong for the sixth anniversary and have a beautiful, newly-minted bridge where people can get that great view of the city they love.”

Registration for the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run is ongoing, though it will be capped at 1,000 participants. Wattigny said he expects the race to sell out, and that only a few openings remained as of midweek.

Packet pick-up and last-minute registration will take place Thursday at Louisiana Running and Walking Company, 3020 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Metairie near Causeway Boulevard. from 3-7 p.m. On Friday, packet pickup will be from 3-7 p.m. at Academy Sports + Outdoors, 800 South Clearview Parkway in Harahan, and on Saturday from 6:30-7:30 a.m. at Gumbo Festival Park.

Awards will be presented in various age divisions. All finishers will receive a special fifth anniversary medal that features the race’s classic car logo with blinking taillights. Participants also will receive a $10 gift card to Louisiana Running and Walking Company.

A post-race party will begin at 8:30 a.m. and feature food, drink, vendor booths, and live music by Imaginary Frenz. Parking is available on the grounds of Holy Guardian Angel Church and area side streets. Overflow parking will be made available if needed. See a parking attendant on site for more information.

To register for the race online through Thursday evening, go to www.hueyprun.com.