As soon as crews redirect traffic one block east of Bessie's Milk Jug, the Cowan Road conveniece store's manager says it will lose its niche. "But," manager Kitsaa Stevens said, "Bessie is a survivor. She's been here 20 some years. She at one time was more grocery than convenience. We may have to go back to more grocery and less convenience to cater to my neighbors."
A neighborhood away, people in the Brentwood subdivision celebrated when they thought about the first two lanes of new road finally opening. "It's about time," Damica Wells said. "It's about time. We're tired of all this construction going on over here."
The Cowan Lorraine Road widening project originally forced the state to buy and demolish nine Brentwood homes. It cost almost $14 million to build the roadway and the new bridge. According to project engineer James Clark, "I think it will help the traffic flow quite a bit now. When we get the whole thing completed, I think you will see a much better traffic flow, especially when they get it built on down to Pass Road and onto Highway 90."
Daylong traffic light problems delayed the opening of the nearly two mile roadway. It will start as a two lane road. But it will expanded to four lanes this fall, after crews finish the Industrial Seaway drawbridge.
Once traffic comes off the old Bernard Bayou bridge, the state can prepare to tear it down. According to engineers, the Coast Guard gave the department of transportation 90 days to remove the old bridge from the water.