Natchitoches, La. – Today, DOTD officials participated in a ceremony to mark the completion of the re-decking of the La. 6/ U.S. 84 Grand Ecore Bridge crossing the Red River in Natchitoches Parish. The ceremony was held at the Grand Ecore Visitor’s Center, where state and local officials ceremonially cut a ribbon to open the roadway.
The project replaced the previous 6-inch-thick concrete deck with a new 7.5-inch-thick concrete deck. The bridge was also widened, and now consists of two 12-foot travel lanes with 2-foot shoulders.
DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas said, “The Grand Ecore Bridge is an essential connector for residents and businesses in this region. The completion of this project, which includes widened travel lanes and shoulders, means safer and more efficient travel for the 8,000 drivers who travel across the bridge every day.”
The Red River is a major Louisiana commercial waterway transporting more than 10 million tons of freight per year for the communities and businesses in northwest Louisiana. The bridge provides a vital link between Natchitoches and points in Northeast Louisiana and handles more than 8,000 vehicles a day, including dozens of tractor-trailers that make daily trips to and from the Port of Natchitoches.
This $5.5 million project highlights the diverse avenues in which Louisiana is able to move products through our state and to the nation. The Grand Ecore Bridge serves as an essential connector allowing industries to move their products across the state fluidly and not only easily access the highway system but the state’s ports/ waterways, railroads and airports, including:
· Interstate 49 west of Natchitoches
· Interstate 20 through Ruston and Monroe
· U.S. 71 on the east bank of the Red River connecting to Bossier City and Alexandria
· LA 1 on the west bank of the Red River connecting Shreveport and Alexandria
· LA 6 west to Texas
- U.S. 84 east to Natchez, Mississippi
Senator Gerald Long, District 31, said, “We are thankful for Governor Jindal and the legislature’s commitment to infrastructure projects in Central Louisiana. The improvements made to the bridge at Grand Ecore will enhance safety for motorists traveling across the Red River.”
This project provides a safer and stronger regional link to commercial airports in Alexandria and Shreveport, general aviation airports in Natchitoches, Coushatta, Winnfield, Many, Shreveport, Pineville, and Alexandria, in addition to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City.
Representative Rickey Nowlin, District 23, said, “The Grand Ecore Bridge is vital for the community of Natchitoches. The completion of this project will benefit residents and businesses alike by providing improved travel for motorists in the area.”
The re-decking is also a welcome improvement for major employers in the area, and will boost access and commerce for area businesses such as Alliance Compressor, which employees 800 individuals; Weyerhaeuser Co., with 300 employees; Natchitoches Parish Hospital, with 420 employees; Northwest State University, with 650 employees; and Wal-Mart Supercenter, which employees 415.
Additionally, maintaining the state’s commitment to supporting business and industry by accommodating port and factory traffic during construction, DOTD required an adjusted construction schedule to maintain one lane of traffic for uninterrupted access across the bridge.
Since 2008, the state has invested over $51 million in Natchitoches Parish and has plans to invest up to $18.6 million in upcoming bridge replacement and resurfacing projects for the area. The project, which began in February 2010, was awarded to Jensen Construction Company.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, the department is able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.
For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email email@example.com, or call DOTD’s Custom Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Motorists can access up-to-date travel information by dialing 511 or by visiting www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).