Contact: Mark Lambert
September 9, 2005
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana took a big step forward Friday to restore its storm-damaged infrastructure by awarding a $30.9 million “fast-track” contract to repair the I-10 “Twin Span” bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, according to Governor Kathleen Blanco and state Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry.
The $30,964,255 emergency project will safely put traffic back on the “Twin Spans” within 45 days.
“Repairing our roads and bridges is a critical step in helping Louisiana citizens get back to normal,” Gov. Blanco said. “I have directed the state DOTD and its contractor to work nights and weekends to repair this bridge as quickly as possible. DOTD’s construction schedule reflects my sense of urgency and commitment to getting the job done.”
Boh Bros. Construction Co., of New Orleans was the low bidder on the job. Underscoring the urgency the state places on the job, bids were opened at 1 p.m. Friday. The bid was reviewed and approved by 3:30 p.m. The contract was signed by 5:15 p.m. Material and equipment will be assembled over the weekend, and work will begin Monday morning, Bradberry said.
Boh Brothers has been put on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week schedule until traffic can be restored, Bradberry said. “This is an ambitious schedule, but we will meet that schedule,” Bradberry said. “I expect nothing less from all of our employees and our industry partners on this and all projects.”
The project will make one of the spans over Lake Pontchartrain passable for two-lane traffic and the other span passable for one-lane traffic. Both spans, which connect New Orleans and Slidell, suffered severe damage during Hurricane Katrina, which shifted, damaged or destroyed dozens of pre-cast concrete panels.
Under Phase 1, Boh Brothers will take pre-cast concrete road segments from the more-damaged span and install them on the less-damaged span to complete two lanes of traffic. Engineers will decide over the weekend which span suffered more damage.
Phase 2 construction will begin concurrently with Phase 1 and will involve shifting the remaining undamaged panels on the more-damaged bridge to one end of that span. The rest of the more-damaged span will be repaired using temporary bridge span portable panels. This will open only one lane to traffic because the portable panels can only accommodate one lane. Phase 2 construction is estimated to be complete by January 2006.
During Phase 3, Boh Bros. will perform daily maintenance for up to three years on the temporary bridge span portable panels.
In the first quarter of 2006, DOTD plans to take bids on a new twin-span bridge to replace the current twin spans, Bradberry said. That new bridge will be a six-lane structure built at a higher elevation. Exact costs and finance arrangements for a new twin span bridge are not yet available, but Bradberry said he expects construction to take about three years.
All costs should be eligible for reimbursement for emergency relief funds allocated to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) upon passage of a special funding package from Congress.