BATON ROUGE – More than one-third of the movable bridges in the areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita were damaged, and about 20 percent are closed to either marine or vehicular traffic.
Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry estimated that 90 percent of all emergency contracts to re-establish normal operation of movable bridges should be complete by mid-November at a projected cost of $15 million.
Vince Latino, DOTD engineer for fleet and movable bridge maintenance, said the data reflects completed inspections related to Hurricane Katrina and initial reports on the effects of Hurricane Rita.
Latino said 142 movable bridges (on-system and off-system) were in areas affected by the storms. Of these, 52 (37 percent) were damaged to some degree, and 28 bridges (19.7 percent) are closed to either marine or vehicular traffic.
Hurricane Katrina wreaked the most havoc, with 22 bridges sustaining enough damage to be eligible for federal assistance at an estimated cost of $10 million. Of the 17 state-owned movable bridges, 13 emergency contracts have been issued for repairs. The department also is assisting local entities issue emergency contracts for two – LaPalco and Doullut.
As for Hurricane Rita, initial estimates indicate 30 on-system bridges sustained enough damage to be eligible for federally funded repairs – 14 in District 02; nine in District 03; and seven in District 07. Seven emergency contracts have been issued so far, and DOTD crews are working to repair 11.
Other damages outlined in an Oct. 5 report include:
- Three other fixed bridges besides the I-10 “twin spans” – the Caminada Bay Bridge in Grand Isle (repairs due for completion as the newsletter went to press); the I-10 bridge over a drainage canal 1 mile from the “twin spans”; and the U.S. 11 bridge over I-10 – at an estimated cost of $450,000.
- Two locks in District 02, Empire and Ostrica, $1.5 million estimate.
- Two of three tunnels in District 02, the Belle Chasse and Harvey tunnels, $150,000 estimate.
- Three pumping stations – Airline and Pontchartrain in District 02 and Westlake in District 07 – $1.1 million estimate.