10 a.m. briefing DOTD
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Teams from the Department of Transportation and Development and federal government are inspecting 90 movable bridges to repair prioritize repair needs.
Inspections are continuing, but the most severely damaged movable bridges to date appear to be the East Pearl Bridge on La. 90; the Bayou Liberty Bridge on La. 433; and Rigolets bridge on La. 90,
Fortunately, the Leeville Bridge on La. 1, the only landlink to oil-critical Port Fourchon, appears stable. Officials feared scour, or washing out of dirt around the pilings, might have been severe; however, a recently completed inspection showed that was not the case, Bradberry said.
The bridge on the roadway, which the state already planned to replace because of its propensity to flood, was found to be structurally and mechanically sound.
The state is making field inspections the 90 movable bridges– 30 of them owned by local governments –in eight parishes. Louisiana has more movable bridges – 130 – than any other state in the union.
Meanwhile, work has begun on a non-movable bridge, with repairs expected to be completed in three weeks. The Caminada Bay bridge, on La. 1 between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon, is still passable for emergency personnel, but some of the deck spans have shifted, although none was lost.
DOTD is working with the state’s congressional delegation to address changing some rules to accommodate the nature of the disaster. For example, there is a 180-day limit for emergency relief funds to be used to repair roads and bridges. We’re seeking an extension (because we won’t even know the extent of the damage for 30-50 days) Another area is altering the law to allow more displaced Louisiana workers to work on the repair and replacement projects. (Current federal law precludes contractural requirements for hiring local labor. Want specified percentage of displaced labor.)
Debris removal efforts on roads and rights-of-way are in motion. And the work will accelerate as waters continue to recede.