MINDEN — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined the Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson, along with a number of state and local officials, to celebrate the completion of a bridge replacement on US 80 near Minden in Webster Parish.
This replacement work was announced in October 2019 as part of a larger commitment to investing in infrastructure and workforce training to benefit several industries in the region, including Fibrebond Corporation, which is based in Minden.
“I’ve never wavered in my commitment to keeping jobs in Louisiana, growing our economy, and listening to the concerns of businesses across the state,” said Gov. Edwards. “There was no hesitation when Fibrebond approached my administration seeking to work together to keep that important industry from leaving the state. These agency partnerships are critical, and the citizens of Louisiana deserve this ongoing commitment.”
The US 80 westbound bridge replacement over Boone Creek in Dixie Inn was completed in approximately half the time originally scheduled, using DOTD in-house resources. The 3-span bridge was replaced with a 4-span pre-cast concrete structure, which will no longer be weight-limit posted. This factor is key in the efficient movement of goods, giving manufacturers like Fibrebond Corporation access to a heavy-haul route.
“Properly investing in our infrastructure is crucial to ensuring that our manufacturing companies are able to move their products on our roadways and continue to provide jobs in our communities,” said Dr. Wilson. “Gov. Edwards’ administration has been instrumental in supporting key improvements to our transportation system through the strategic use of available funding. Delivering a brand new bridge to the traveling public in a little over a month is an outstanding example of what we can accomplish when we set a unified goal that benefits the people of Louisiana.”
DOTD, with support from Louisiana Economic Development (LED), will also lower US 80 at the I-20 overpass between Dixie Inn and Goodwill Road in Webster Parish in order to allow custom-built loads to utilize the route with adequate overhead clearance. LED is contributing $2.5 million in Rapid Response funds to assist with fast-tracking the project, which is in development and is expected to go to bid soon.
“Along with workforce talent, viable transportation routes consistently are at the top of the list of items major employers look for in industrial locations,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “In this case, we quickly collaborated as a region and state to implement transportation improvements that will enhance business conditions for our valued employers who do business here and also benefit the strong workforce in Northwest Louisiana.”
The infrastructure upgrades will accommodate vehicles transporting Fibrebond’s oversized and heavy manufactured products, along with other industries that need to utilize the heavy-haul route for their loads.