Out with the old, in with the new — Wooden bridges along the Atchafalaya Basin levee, like this one on LA 3083 over Bayou Alexandre near Coteau Holmes (at left), and other classics like the Butte La Rose pontoon bridge are picturesque and bring back memories, but they are rapidly disappearing. This new two-lane, concrete replacement was finally completed earlier this month. (Karl Jeter)
New bridge finally open
After years of delay, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has opened the new bridge across Bayou Alexandre east of Coteau Holmes to traffic.
The two-lane concrete structure replaces the wooden, one-lane bridge that dates back to 1950 and connects LA 3083/Bayou Alexandre Hwy to LA 352/Bayou Benoit Levee Hwy which provides access to Lake Fausse Pointe State Park to the south and Catahoula and Henderson to the north.
Bill Oliver, engineer/manager for the DOTD’s Lafayette district, said the new bridge was built at a cost of $3.5 million. Construction was halted several times due to high water levels in the Atchafalaya Basin, the first time back in 2016.
“In high water situations,” Oliver explained, we are not allowed to drive pilings within 1,000 feet of the levee. Vibrations from the pile driving equipment could weaken the levee.”
Wooden bridges like the one being replaced normally have a 30-year lifespan Oliver said. The old bridge had been rated as structurally deficient for several years despite aggressive repairs, and replacement had been moved up on the state’s priority list.