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Bossier Parish keeping close eye on aging bridges - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bossier Parish keeping close eye on aging bridges

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(Photo source: KTBS/Erin Buchanan) (Photo source: KTBS/Erin Buchanan)
BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTBS) -

You might not think much about it, but take a trip to Shreveport or Bossier, and you've probably crossed a bridge somewhere along the way.

"The goal of [Bossier Parish] is to never the let the bridges get to the point to where they would fail," says Sammy Halphen, Director of Public Safety for Bossier Parish.

That's where the parish's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit steps in.

It's the crew that's tasked with constantly overseeing the maintenance of the 113 bridges owned by the parish.

"There's never a time that the parish looks at a bridge and says, oh, I think we can go another two days. It's never like that."

Part of the inspection process is deciding whether to place a bridge on a watch list. meaning the team checks every six months for deficiencies.

"Generally, they can make some repairs and it keeps the bridge open."

But keeping a bridge open isn't always possible, like with the current closure of a bridge on Goodman Springs Road in north Bossier Parish.

Though this closure doesn't disrupt residential traffic, Halphen says it's simply too old for safe travel.

The Goodman Springs Road bridge is part of the LA DOTD Off-system Bridge Replacement Program, through which parishes apply to replace or rehabilitate structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges.

The Federal Highway Administration provides 80% of the funding for the design and construction of the projects and the state contributes the remaining 20% matching funds.

Those funds are distributed among the parishes based on the percentage of surface area of qualified structures.

That rural bridge is just one of many more aging structures that the parish is keeping a close eye on.

"The first and foremost thing is safety. Is it safe? And that's the main driving force."

Halphen says one of the major factors the parish takes into consideration when making a closure is the access for emergency services and school buses.

He says they try not to make multiple closures at the same time that will affect residents' ability to enter and leave an area.

If you have a concern or question about a bridge near you, you can always contact the Bossier Parish Police Jury office at (318) 965-2329.

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