Lea Joyner Bridge Will Close for 8 Weeks this summer - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Lea Joyner Bridge Will Close for 8 Weeks this summer

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - There are only 3 routes from Monroe to West Monroe, over the Ouachita River. Many of us travel the Lea Joyner Bridge, daily.

This summer that bridge won't be an option for about two months. A line of traffic isn't unusual for the Lea Joyner Bridge. Freddie McLemore, uses the Lea Joyner Bridge, and says "I actually use it twice a day, coming and going to work."

McLemore is one of 40,000 people who cross the bridge on any given day. Many say the closure, will be a headache. McLemore says, "if it's the best thing to do, go ahead and do it. Let's go ahead and knock it out."

Monday, DOTD announced the Lea Joyner Bridge will be closed for a total of 8 weeks this summer. Marshall Hill with DOTD says, "with this existing contract we're going ahead to replace those bearings. The replacing of those bearings requires a complete closure of the bridge. A month per side."

Hill says the bearings allow the bridge to go up and down. He says replacing it now, will save a lot of headache in the future. Hill says, "if the bearing were to actually seize, then it would take possibly a year to get it fixed. Luckily, we have a contractor that's working now."

DOTD is encouraging everyone to take I-20 when the bridge is closed. Now, the interstate bridge has around 80,000 cars cross it everyday. With the closure of the Lea Joyner Bridge, traffic will almost double. Hill says, "we're currently working on different plans to help mitigated some of that traffic; but there's not going to be any great way to do that."

You also have the option of the Endom Bridge in downtown Monroe to cross over the Ouachita River. The different options make people like McLemore say, the closure won't be so bad. He says, "go ahead, and wrap it up and fix it. We'll go from there."

The project will also replace the bridge's metal deck, install steel railing, and clean and paint the bridge. Barge traffic will not be affected.

The first closure will start June 1st for 4 weeks. The second closure will be July 10th for 4 weeks.

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