STERLINGTON, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the opening of the La. 2 Ouachita River Bridge at Sterlington.
The new high-rise bridge, which is scheduled to open to traffic this afternoon, is replacing the 75-year-old movable bridge on La. 2 across the Ouachita River. With the new bridge open, vehicular traffic crossing the bridge will no longer have to stop for marine traffic. Approximately 5,500 vehicles drive across the bridge each day.
"I am proud to represent DOTD as we celebrate the completion of a project many years in the making," said DOTD Deputy Secretary Sherri LeBas, who spoke at the ceremony. "I know how important the Ouachita River Bridge is to the area, and I believe the new bridge will provide an economic boost for the local communities. But more importantly, the new bridge will provide a safer drive for those crossing between Union and Ouachita parishes."
While the old bridge had no shoulders and 10-foot lanes, the new bridge will boast 10-foot shoulders and 12-foot lanes. Large trucks will have fewer problems crossing this bridge because of the expanded width, LeBas added.
John Kelly, DOTD’s District 05 Administrator, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which took place just east of the new bridge. DOTD Deputy Secretary Sherri LeBas, Sens. Robert Kostelka and Mike Walsworth, Reps. Hollis Downs, Kay Katz and Sam Little, Sterlington Mayor Vern Breland, and Sterlington Chamber Volunteer President Jeremy Harrell also spoke at the ceremony. Brother Tracy Boyd of Sterlington Holiness Tabernacle provided the invocation.
Construction on the project began in March 2006. Jensen Construction Co. was the contractor for the $37.2 million project, and the DOTD project engineer was Matt Jones.