GONZALES — A portion of La. 621, a heavily traveled two-lane state highway in Ascension Parish, will be closed for six to eight weeks, beginning May 28, authorities said.
State highway workers are replacing the aging bridge near Duplessis Elementary School and so must shut the key east-west route that stretches from near I-10 to Airline Highway and even farther east into the St. Amant area.
Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said drivers should take La. 73 or La. 74 to reach I-10 or Airline during the project.
The bridge, which dates from 1971, crosses Grand Goudine Bayou near Duplessis Primary School and about a mile east of La. 73, state highway officials said.
Rodney Mallett, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said the existing bridge has "numerous decayed timber pilings." The bayou has also eroded the channel under the bridge, eating into the abutments that hold up the ends of the bridge.
Mallett said the new concrete bridge will have steel pilings and will extend farther over Grand Goudine Bayou, so erosion will no longer be an issue around the supporting ends of the bridge.
The work, which will be done with DOTD forces, not a contractor, is expected to cost $430,000.
Webre said deputies will be stationed near the work site to help direct traffic.
The project isn't expected to be finished until July 21, DOTD said.