Not without a fight
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – The possible removal of the La. 91 pontoon bridge just north of Estherwood has drawn not only the ire of local officials and residents, but Senator Dan “Blade” Morrish and Representative Jack Montoucet also have been caught off guard by the Department of Transportation and Development’s (DOTD) hasty decision.
And they aren’t about to go down without a fight.
“I am going to protect that bridge at all costs,” said Morrish during a phone interview Tuesday morning. “Aside from it being a hurricane evacuation route and a major road for the people in that area, we have a rice harvest coming up. This is an important bridge. For them to think that these people can simply detour through Crowley or Jennings is crazy. Crowley has their construction going on and the detouring of all those trucks would be a nightmare.”
For those who are unaware of the situation, the La. 91 bridge may be moved to Freshwater City in Vermilion Parish to replace a pontoon bridge in that area that is badly in need of repair. What has angered the residents, local officials, and state legislators was that they just found out about the bridge’s removal late last week.
“Jack (Montoucet) and I didn’t know about it until Thursday,” said an obviously angry Morrish. “I have been in touch with DOTD’s William Ankner and their legislative liason, Roy Quezaire, to express our extreme opposition to this move. I was assured that nothing would happen until the matter is discussed further. If this bridge is moved I will not be working much with the DOTD in the future.”
Representative Montoucet very much shared Morrish’s anger.
“This will only happen over our dead bodies,” said Montoucet. “For them to not communicate this to our district’s senator and state representative is very wrong and unethical. We will not let this happen.”