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9:36am

Mon January 6, 2014
Local

Long-awaited construction begins on Sabine River bridge at Logansport, La.

Construction begins today on a $20.4 million bridge replacement that connects Shelby County, Texas, with DeSoto Parish. The Sabine River Bridge links Logansport, La., with Joaquin, Texas. An effort to replace the 78-year-old bridge began with public meetings in the 1980s.

The downtown streetscape of Logansport, La., will not be impacted by the Sabine River bridge project.
The downtown streetscape of Logansport, La., will not be impacted by the Sabine River bridge project.

Logansport mayor Katherine Freeman, 73, was there, and she said over the decades it was always money that held back the project. But another sticking point, according to Freeman, was in the design of the bridge itself. Logansport residents pushed to have two bridges built. In the end, they got their wish.

The pair of two-lane, one-way bridges will not impose on the town’s layout that sits on U.S. Highway 84. Freeman said she looks forward to the next two years, anticipating job growth and improved tax revenue for her town due to the construction.

“We have several restaurants and they flourished during the time when the Haynesville Shale had first come in, and now it has not been nearly so busy here. In terms of taxes and employment it will mean a lot for us. I think it should be a rebirth for our town," Freeman said.

More than 12,000 vehicles pass over the current bridge each day. Texas will oversee construction, and Louisiana will contribute$11.2 million toward the construction project, according to Susan Stafford, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. She said this bridge is especially important to truckers.

“This is a significant bridge because it is a connector between Texas and Louisiana, and it is a big freight connector as well. If you go that route you see tons of people from the trucking industry who are utilizing that bridge," Stafford said.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Friday, Jan. 10, at 11 a.m. at the Dennis Freeman Memorial Park in Logansport. State and local elected officials from both states are expected to attend.