Will the Madisonville Bridge Be Changed?
Madisonville is a quite small town outside of a big city so why would the town need to expand its two-lane bridge? If you are a resident or are familiar with Madisonville, then you know about the two-lane swing bridge crossing the Tchefuncte River along Louisiana 22. Traffic is a nightmare so many commuters come through that way. Will changing the bridge to accommodate the traffic hurt the quaint town?
Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden discusses the bridge and says it is the topic of discussion for two years in a row at a traffic summit that he organized. He goes on to explain that the small bridge plays a big part in Western St. Tammany Parish’s traffic problem. Rep. Mark Wright of Covington has put forth a resolution to the state Department of Transportation and Development to conduct a study on how traffic can be alleviated over the Tchefuncte River. He backs it up by saying that St. Tammany has been rapidly growing and the Madisonville bridge is a detournement to economic development. No matter what the study shows, the bridge is part of the town’s landscape.
“What can be done to a two-lane bridge in a small town? I don’t know,” says Madisonville Mayor Jean Pelloat.
The town does not want a huge high bridge, which is what would happen if they turned the bridge into a fixed bridge with more lanes. Boats have to pass beneath the bridge if it does not swing to give clearance. “No one wants to make a high rise over Madisonville,” replies Sharp. St. Tammany Parish Council member Michael Lorino says this just might have to happen to accommodate the traffic pile-up. He feels that raising the bridge height to allow most boats to go through without having an open bridge can be done by keeping the quaint town atmosphere.
Some relief has already come in the form of a new bridge opening schedule which will begin in April. Instead of opening on-call every half-hour, it will open every hour on-call. This will help with the morning and afternoon rush. There are also several projects that will improve traffic flow that will be done in the surrounding areas. This will include a roundabout at Louisiana 1085 and Louisiana 22, rerouting Main Street traffic to Cedar Street along with a roundabout at the intersection with Louisiana 22, the state also plans to add a turning lane on Louisiana 22 from Tangipahoa Parish line east to Perrilloux Road.
“You can’t make the traffic disappear, because you can’t make the houses disappear. But you can make it move a little better, says Lorino.