BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The long anticipated construction of the Red Chute Bayou bridge, better known as the "Sligo Bridge," in Bossier Parish is finally underway.
The bridge has been closed since March, causing South Bossier drivers to take a 20 minute detour.
The contractor, James Construction Group, is in the preliminary phase of gathering equipment and materials until November 12.
Starting November 13, they'll have 250 working days to get the project completed, but that doesn't include delays.
"Weather is the big unknown," said Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman Cindy Dorfner. "You know how many weekend days there are between 250 working days, but you don't know how the weather is going to be."
The construction has been several months in the making. Back in March, DOTD was in the early process of replacing the bridge at Sligo Road. They were going through the legal processes and taking necessary steps to get ready for construction. But when part of it collapsed, it forced officials to close the bridge.
"In a perfect world, the bridge still would have been open. It would have been safe for people to travel," said Dorfner.
While it's been closed, people in the area have had to take a 6-mile detour.
"It's only 6 miles, is what everybody says, but those 6 miles add up over the day," said Lisa Householder, who lives in the area.
Now that construction has started, those affected are excited and hoping it will open sooner rather than later.
"I think it's going to be a lot fun when the bridge is finally done to see our friends on the other side and just say hey and walk over there again," said Householder.
Some people have even gone so far as to stop and share their excitement with the construction workers, but the construction company and DOTD doesn't recommend it.
Dorfner said, "Every time you stop and try to talk to them to find out information or to yell or to do whatever, you're stopping progress and you're compromising the safety."
For anyone who is interested in showing their appreciation for the construction workers, there has been talk about throwing a bridge opening party.
There is also another bridge on Sligo Road that will be replaced in the same 250 day contract. Crews will be building a detour bridge while the second bridge is under construction.