Estherwood Pontoon Bridge remains closed

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ESTHERWOOD, La. (KLFY) – The Estherwood Pontoon Bridge on LA 91 crosses Bayou Plaquemine Brule in Acadia Parish. 

The bridge and operator house were damaged in the 2016 flood. 

The DOTD closed the bridge to all traffic in mid-May to make repairs. 

“So when a bridge becomes inoperable as that bridge is, we have no choice but to repair it,” said DOTD District Administrator Bill Oliver. 

Oliver said the project is about 75 percent complete. 

The wooden structure was repaired and the electrical components in the house were replaced. 

Crews are now in the process of replacing pulleys, cables, bearings, motors, and a gear box.      

The bridge closure requires a lengthy detour and a lot or residents are frustrated. If you want to get to the other end of the bayou you’ve got to go about 20 miles out of your way.  

We wanted to see how long it would take us to get to the other side. 

We left around 3 p.m. on Wednesday and used a stopwatch to time the ride. We drove south on LA 91 and east on U.S. Highway into Crowley. 

From there we went north on LA 13 and west on Interstate 10. We took exit 76 and headed south on LA 91 to the other side of the bridge. 

It took us 26 minutes to get from one side of the bayou to the other. We didn’t have any traffic or accidents to deal with along the way.  

David Vidrine of Rayne likes to fish on the north side of the bayou with his sons.  

“We have to come through the highway instead of (Highway) 90 so it’s not a big inconvenience it just adds a few miles to the travel,” Vidrine said.  

He said he feels for those who work on one side of the bayou but live on the other. 

Some residents have been calling for the bridge to be replaced, instead of just repaired. 

Oliver said the U.S. Coast Guard requires the bridge to be operational. He said replacing it would mean designing a brand new bridge and roadway. 

“We’re actually going to have to relocate the roadway. There’s environmental issues in there, it’s a lot more involved than just going out and say replace the bridge,” Oliver explained. 

Oliver said the project costs $1.1 million. 

The DOTD hopes to finish it before the July Fourth holiday. 

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