NEW ORLEANS – Construction crews will shift westbound traffic on the Interstate 10 Twin Span Bridge to the former eastbound span on Thursday morning, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced on Wednesday.
The work will begin at approximately 10 a.m., and should be completed by the end of the day. If it rains, the work will be rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 7.
The new Twin Span Bridge opened to eastbound traffic last month. Construction continues on the rest of the $803 million bridge, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-to-late 2011.
Moving traffic off the old westbound span is a significant milestone in the project because it will mark the end of DOTD’s rigorous inspection and maintenance program that necessitated twice-weekly lane closures. After powerful storm surges from Hurricane Katrina damaged the bridge in 2005, the westbound span was partially rebuilt with temporary bridge panels that allowed DOTD to reopen the bridge quickly but required near-constant inspection and repair.
Westbound truckers on I-10 now will be able to carry full 80,000-pound loads into New Orleans from the east. Vehicles requiring overweight permits must continue to use the Causeway or Interstate 55 for entry into New Orleans.
The speed limit on the westbound bridge is also increasing. It will be 50 mph at the transition points as drivers enter and exit the bridge. The speed limit on the bridge itself will be 60 mph.
The traffic shift will require the closure of the Interstate 10 westbound off-ramp to U.S. 11. A new off-ramp will open to traffic once the bridge is completed in mid-to-late 2011.
More information on the Twin Span Bridge replacement project is available online at www.TwinSpanBridge.com.