By Paige Nash
The LA 531 overpass and Minden/Dubberly exit 49 immediately closed due to structural deterioration of the bridge. Emergency repairs were being made Wednesday, and they are expected to be reopened by late Thursday afternoon.
“It was because of issues with the deck and maybe a girder,” said David North, District Engineer with Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. “We expect to have it open again soon. Evaluation and mobilization are in progress.”
The weight limit on the bridge was dropped to 15 tons a few years ago and this is a major route for 18 wheelers exiting the interstate to access the truck stops on the exit. Violating weight limits on a bridge, especially repeatedly, can cause damage, which can lead to bridge failure or closures.
The bridge was to either be rebuilt or rehabilitated a few times over the last few years, but the project was repeatedly pushed back.
“It is scheduled to be bid in June of this year,” said North. “It appears that it will this time.”
In the past the LADOTD proposed the “construction of a four-lane roadway with a raised concrete median/splitter island, frontage roads, a widened overpass structure accommodating north and southbound lanes with a turning lane and four roundabouts.” Although that may change in the upcoming bid proposal.
Motorists can take alternate routes to exit 47, Highway 159, exit 52, or Highway 532.