The Louisiana Department and Transportation and Development (DOTD) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted a public meeting for the proposed replacement of Cane River Bridge on Church Street Route LA 1-X located in Natchitoches Parish. The meeting provided information to the public and obtained input on the proposed project.
A continuous multi-media presentation showed information about the project. Additional project exhibits were available for viewing. Representatives from DOTD and its consultants answered questions and discussed issues relating to the project.
Comments and suggestions are requested from all interested parties to help ensure that the study team addresses the full range of environmental issues during the Environmental Assessment process. Verbal comments can be recorded and written statements can be submitted through Dec. 18. Written statements can also be mailed to:
Louisiana Department of Transportation
Environmental Engineer Administrator, Section 28
P.O. Box 94245
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9245
After a solicitation of views, DOTD received 18 agency and 41 citizen responses (39 of the 41 citizen responses opposed a temporary bridge at Highland Park Drive).
While they were assured that no decision has been made yet, many East Natchitoches residents still feel uneasy. One Williams Avenue resident said the City could easily put their minds at ease by passing a resolution that voices the Council’s opposition to the placement of a temporary bridge at Highland Park Drive.
City Councilman Eddie Harrington said he’s pushing for a temporary bridge at Touline.
“We’re gathering community input so we can make the best decision at the end of this process,” said LADOTD Public Information Officer, Erin Buchanan. “This way we won’t end up with a product that fails to meet the community’s needs. We’re trying to fins a process that has the least impact on the historic downtown area.”
Replace existing Cane River bridge with new permanent bridge utilizing a temporary bridge
Replace existing Cane River bridge with new permanent bridge utilizing staged construction to avoid the need for a temporary bridge
Permanent bridge: keep same alignment or provided skewed alignment to St. Clair Avenue
Temporary bridge locations-Highland Park Drive or Touline Street
One option that wasn’t included in the visual displays was discussed by residents and project representatives. With opposition present against a bridge at Touline or Highland Park, there is the possibility of no temporary bridge construction at all. This would mean tearing down the Church Street Bridge and rerouting traffic during the 9-10 month construction process. However, this option would mean significant traffic congestion for Natchitoches during this time period. Would Natchitoches survive?
At the end of the day, the existing bridge is 80-years-old and is being inspected every 6 months. It’s exceeded its expected service life and its superstructure, substructure and decking have been in poor condition for some time now.
Stage 0: Feasability (compelted 2015)
Stage 1: Complete Environmental Inventory (estimated completion Spring 2019) ***Where project is at currently***
Develop preferred alternative
Host additional public meeting (if necessary)
Prepare environmental assessment (EA)
Distribute EA for public and agency comments
Host public hearing
Prepare EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (if appropriate)
Issue discussion (FONSI or Notice of Intent to prepare EIS)
Stage 2: Funding/Project Prioritization (estimated time of completion 1-2 years)
Stage 3: Final Design Process (estimated time of completion 1-3 years)
Stage 4: Letting (proposed date to go out for bids is Fall 2023)
Stage 5: Construction (estimated construction start January 2024)
Stage 6: Operation
Agency and Public Involvement:
Possible second public meeting- early Spring 2018
EA Public Review- Summer 2018
Public Hearing- Summer 2018
EA and FONSI Review- Winter 2018/2019