DOTD discusses progress, funding for Cheniere Lake Bridge & Spillway replacement project, Ouachita Parish
Monday, July 08, 2019 at 5:29:19 PM

DOTD discusses progress, funding for Cheniere Lake Bridge & Spillway replacement project, Ouachita Parish

WEST MONROE, La. – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson met with residents and elected officials around Cheniere Lake to provide an update on the bridge and spillway replacement project in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish.

The approximately $4 million project, which has received funding through the State Highway Priority Program, will completely replace the Cheniere Lake bridge located on LA 3033, as well as remove and replace the spillway structure. That structure is owned and maintained by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.

“We have worked closely with state leadership to find a way to allocate funds in order to continue to move bridge projects like this one forward despite facing a critical deficit in terms of adequate funding for infrastructure needs in every corner of the state,” said Sec. Wilson. “This is an exciting opportunity to provide not only a new bridge, but also to assist the Parish with a drainage structure to allow for proper lake management.”

The spillway structure suffered severe damage during the 2016 flood that impacted many areas of the state. Under its current configuration, the bridge on LA 3033 is attached to the lake’s spillway structure through a cooperative endeavor agreement.

As part of the new project, the bridge will be completely replaced on its existing alignment, but the new cost-efficient spillway will be a fixed crest weir offset from the bridge. This new bridge and spillway placement will greatly reduce the inconvenience to traveling public.

“The need for construction and maintenance on bridges is tremendous, not just in the Monroe area, but around the state,” said Sen. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro. “So I want to thank everyone in the community for their feedback as we worked to find – not just any solution – but a solution that we could afford to do.”

Through dedicated drainage improvement funds, DOTD will also construct a new drainage structure that will allow for improved water level control and maintenance activities on the lake. Cheniere Lake will continue to be managed by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.

As a result of special bridge funding to the Highway Priority Program, the project is being designed in a manner that most efficiently and effectively utilizes every dollar designated for the project.

“I speak often about the importance of maintaining and updating our aging bridge structures across the state, and particularly the impact of closed and load posted bridges in rural areas,” said Dr. Wilson. “In this case, the current bridge is safe for travel, but we do understand the importance of the lake to the surrounding communities, and we also acknowledge the need to reduce the inconvenience to motorists during the bridge replacement process.”

Currently, the project is scheduled to go to bid in Summer/Fall 2020, though letting dates are subject to change based on updates throughout the project development process.