Shelby County historical bridge project underway - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Shelby County historical bridge project underway

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

Shelby County residents not only have to watch the bridges for weather conditions, but also for construction. Work is progressing on a $20 million dollar bridge that connects Joaquin and Logansport, Louisiana.

The U.S. Highway 84 bridge connecting Shelby County and DeSoto Parish is 78 years old.

"It's an aging bridge," said Katherine Freeman, the Logansport mayor. "It's the only one in the state made like this."

It's taken travelers from Texas to Louisiana since 1936, but the number of travelers between Joaquin and Logansport has grown.

"The way it changed things was that we had so much traffic," Freeman said.

The traffic was brought about by the Shelby County oil boom that caused the economy to flourish, but the restaurants, hotels, and big trucks added concern for the bridge that already didn't meet load rating requirements.

"It's been under close observation by the state for twenty years probably," Freeman said.

Moves to replace the federal bridge were proposed by her late husband in the1980s. After delay after delay, Texas and Louisiana came together to make both the bridge and the economies more stable.

"We felt like it would bring work to the citizens," Freeman said. Nearly 30 years later, the project has started.

"Texas and Louisiana have worked really well together on this project," Freeman said.

The bridge is historical, but Freeman says demolishing the bridge didn't bring about any controversy.

"I think everybody is very much in agreement," she said.

She says other than the detours, the project is positive bringing new jobs, new progress, and big changes.

"Everyone has been excited about this," Freeman said.

The expected date for completion of the bridge is sometime next year.

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