According to Eddie Gaspard, who operates Planter’s Rice Mill in Abbeville, L&D Railroad, out of New Iberia, informed him the company planned to bore underneath the already existing bridge and add the needed culverts.
Gaspard said the bridge is expected to remain passable throughout the process.
Planter’s Rice Mill uses the rail company to haul milled rice. Many farmers feared that if the rail bridge had to be torn down for repair, the mill would not be able to purchase rice until the bridge was repaired.
Two weeks ago, L&D learned the the bridge did not have enough drainage under it after it installed three 5-foot wide culverts. Before the bridge broke, it did not have any culverts and was wide open to allow water to flow. The bridge should have had seven six foot culverts instead of three five-foot wide culverts.
The coulee drains into Bayou Tigre.
The Vermilion Parish drainage board met earlier in the month and voted to contact L&D to inform them of the problem. The drainage board gave the company two weeks to come up with a solution.
Based on what Gaspard said, the company plans to add extra culverts to create a larger drain flow.