LIVINGSTON - Livingston Parish leaders found a way to replace seven worn wooden bridges without spending a dime of parish money.
The parish got $4.6 million from a federal grant through the Louisiana Recovery Act. The bridges are scattered throughout the parish, but three are in the Haynes Settlement area. Residents there say the wooden bridges were rotting away.
"I tell you it was a scary feeling crossing the bridge. Two vehicles can't cross at one time cause it's a hazard you know," said Vellis Tillmon.
Parish President Layton Ricks says he and other parish leaders learned about the funding program from the Department of Transportation and Development. The parish had not replaced a bridge using the program in more than 15 years.
"When you think of how fast and how much growth the parish has seen in the last number of years, the number of cars traveling these bridges, they were unsafe," said Ricks. "I mean you get the creaky old sounding bridges and things we all see in the movies, well that's what we were dealing with."
Six of the seven bridges are already finished. Work on the last bridge is underway now, and contractors say the bridge should open in a month.
"It's a blessing and a long time coming that it's done, and we appreciate what's being done for us at this time. It's something that should have been done sooner you know," said Tillmon.
The bridges included in the program are on Black Lake Club Road, McCarrol Road, James Chapel Road, Cline Drive, Jack Rhodus Road and two on Haynes Settlement Road.