Based on a recent routine bridge inspection, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is lowering the load limit for vehicles traveling on the La. 1 Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. The new posting is now 15-25 tons, in both directions, and will remain in place until all repairs have been made.
Based on deficiencies found during the inspection, it is estimated that repairs should take a minimum of two months. The bridge remains safe for vehicles under the load posted limits.
The Department is entering into an emergency contract and the contractor will work seven days a week to complete the repairs as soon as possible. During the repair time, motorists using the bridge can expect intermittent one lane closures during non-rush hour periods.
“This is unfortunate and inconvenient for the commercial trucks, and the industries they serve, that depend on this bridge and this route,” said Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary for DOTD. “This is another compelling example of why routine inspections, consistent maintenance and building infrastructure are vital to the state and the nation when it comes to commerce. Our crews will work as quickly as possible to make the necessary repairs. I have often said an unsafe bridge is a closed bridge. It is my hope that this reinforces the importance of adhering to safety driven decisions.”
Louisiana State Police (LSP) will be assisting with the current changes affecting the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge. LSP Weight Enforcement Officers will be stationed near the bridge to help monitor traffic and enforce the new weight limits. In the interest of public safety, officers will stop and detour any commercial motor vehicles which may exceed those weight requirements. . LSP will also be prepared to assist with any possible road closures or detours that may arise.
The bridge was built in 1960 and has an average daily traffic count of approximately 48,000. Replacement of the structure is currently scheduled for 2020 pending available funding at a cost of $120 million.