We've got a major, defining terrain feature in Central Louisiana. It's called the Red River. Yesterday afternoon we got a taste of how deficient our road network has become.
There was a horrible accident on the Pineville Expressway near the Purple Heart Memorial bridge. For those of you unfamiliar with our road network, there are three bridges linking Alexandria and Pineville. The Purple Heart is the big bridge, six lanes. The other two are antiquated two-lane bridges that should have been replaced forty years ago. One links the downtown areas of the twin cities. Both of the others are on US Highway routes.
So, we've got three bridges and there is a horrific accident on the big bridge. First responders closed the big bridge so that they could clean up the carnage. It is right and proper that they did so.
Traffic in the Alexandria-Pineville area immediately turned to shit. It stayed that way for the rest of the afternoon. The delays cost commuters (taxpayers) aggravation, lost time, worry over picking up kids, and other burdens that can't be readily catalogued. In short, it was a hell of a mess and we can lay the blame at the malfeasance and incompetence of our elected officials.
The road network around here is horrible. It's at capacity and has been for several years. We've still got US routes that are two-lane roads. The two small bridges should have been replaced 40 years ago. The fact that they're still being used is an outrage to all the taxpayers in this area.
We wonder why Central Louisiana is still a backwater area? Simply because the roads and bridges don't handle the traffic we have now. Our infrastructure is crumbling and all we get are platitudes from those who are supposed to take care of such things. Roads and bridges aren't sexy. They're not politically hot-button issues.
The fact that closing one bridge causes untold problems to those of us who have to use the roads everyday is simply an insult. Closing one bridge should simply be a five-minute delay while we route to another bridge. It isn't. It's a major delay that causes untold losses in opportunity. The officials responsible for our transportation should be called to answer for their incompetence.