OUACHITA PARISH, LA (KTVE/KARD)– After waiting for years, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced that starting on February 1, 2021, construction to replace both the Cheniere Lake spillway and the attached bridge on LA 3033 in West Monroe will begin.
According to the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, the Cheniere Lake spillway and the connected bridge were built in 1949, making them 71 years old. However, the life expectancy of these structure is only 60 years. Now that the shovel is about to hit the ground, the police jury is excited.
“Oh there is no little excitement to it. This is a super fantastic event. We’ve been working on this project since 2013,” said Jack Clampit, Vice President of OPPJ.
The project will cost the state 9.5 million dollars, but the parish won’t be paying a dime. A local resident who fishes at the spillway says he’s excited for the construction.
“Fixing it up is nice because if you look up under there it don’t look very safe. The vehicles coming back and forth, sometimes you can feel it move under there. So, I think maybe they do need to fix it,” said Lyle, local resident.
The two structures will be separated. The project includes the removal of the current spillway and replacing it in the spillway’s former location, just down the street. In addition, the bridge will stay in its current alignment but will be completely replaced.
“In the future, if work is needing to be done on the spillway or work is needing to be done on the bridge, that particular work won’t impact each other,” said Erin Buchanan, LA DOTD.
The importance of these structures being fixed won’t just affect those who live on LA 3033 but the entire parish.
“This is the only lake in Ouachita Parish. That’s it. If you want to go fishing in one of our lakes, this is where you come to. Well, now it’s down you can’t fish. So it is very important to get that back up. Plus, the road behind us has about 4,500 cars a day average traffic, that is a lot of traffic. So it is very important that we have this structure up as fast as we can and put traffic back on it,” said Clampit.
This project won’t be completed for almost a year and a half. LA 3033 will be closed in both directions. To access LA 3033, detours will include:
- LA 34 (Jonesboro Road)
- LA 840 (Smith Street)
- Rodgers Road
- Elkins Road
While this project is under way, Clampit says they will be working to make Area 3 a nicer place and more inclusive. They have put in an application for federal funding for piers and handicap piers to tie up boats and fish off of.
BELOW IS THE DOTD PRESS RELEASE:
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announces that construction to replace both the Cheniere Lake spillway and attached bridge on LA 3033 in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish, is anticipated to begin on February 1, 2021.
There will be a total road closure on LA 3033. This closure is necessary to allow construction to begin on the removal of both structures. LA 3033 will be closed through mid-2022, the duration of the project.
The $9.5 million project will completely replace the bridge over Cheniere Lake, as well as remove and replace the currently attached spillway structure that’s owned and maintained by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.
“The key to the success of many of our projects is our partnership with local government, and this project is a prime example,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “It’s imperative that both of these structures, the bridge and spillway, remain in service for the community for many more years, so I applaud everyone who worked diligently to develop and bring this project to construction.”
The project went out for bid in September, with the contract awarded to Brown Industrial Construction, LLC.
As part of this project, the bridge – owned and maintained by DOTD – will be replaced on its existing alignment. But the new cost-effective spillway will be a fixed crest weir offset from the bridge. This will be a much-improved placement for each structure that will reduce the inconvenience to the traveling public during routine maintenance and other necessary work on the spillway.
Dedicated drainage improvement funds are making possible the construction of the new drainage system that will allow for much more efficient water level control and maintenance activities on the lake. Cheniere Lake will continue to be managed by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.
The entire project expected to be complete in Summer 2022, with progress always dependent on weather conditions.
Detour information: Detour signage will be in place directing motorists to use LA 34 (Jonesboro Road) and LA 840 (Smith Street) to access LA 3033.
Visit www.511la.org or download the Louisiana 511 mobile app for additional road/lane closure information. Out-of-state travelers may call I-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at wwwsp.dotd.la.gov, by selecting MyDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.
Area residents should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking near an active construction zone.