Bridge closure impacts local businesses

Lily Cummings

Lily Cummings, Reporter

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Brittany McRee, manager at T’s Lounge near the 11 bridge in Slidell, was hoping for a new year, and a new bridge.

McRee said that business has dwindled since the 11 bridge closed.

“We have definitely been affected by the bridge being closed by about 35 percent,” McRee said. 

According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, McRee and other Slidell business owners will be waiting another five months or more as the work is expected to be complete this summer. 

“I’ll believe it when I see it, but I am an optimistic person so I suppose I’m optimistic about it,” McRee said about the new timeline.

Another bartender at T’s Lounge said it used to take her only 25 minutes to get to New Orleans using the 11 bridge, but now that time has gone up to 45 minutes taking I-10 because of what she says is “stop and go traffic.”

The bridge has been closed since January of last year. Scott Boyle with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said it’s due to the complexity and the age of the bridge. 

“It spans five miles over Lake Pontchartrain and it’s an older structure,” Boyle said, “The two moveable bridges are advanced in age, and there are a lot of moving parts. Some of these are custom and have to be fabricated. They can’t be picked up off the shelf.”

Until the bridge is opened again, McRee will be behind the bar, waiting for customers.