DOTD to institute traffic-easing options for LA 1 joint replacement project
Thursday, March 07, 2019 at 3:38:53 PM
Baton Rouge – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced today that it is implementing traffic mitigation measures to address congestion concerns on the LA 1 Intracoastal Bridge as crews continue to work on critical joint repairs to the bridge. After working with the Senator Rick Ward, and Representatives Chad Brown & Edmond Jordan, DOTD is taking the following measures to address the concerns:

• DOTD will install rubberized road ramps designed to make a smoother a transition to all steel plates covering the hole where the bridge joint was removed

• The steel plates covering the holes will have the width reduced to primarily impact only one lane

• The department will offer the contractor an extra shift of work time previously not available on Sundays so they can work with a lane closed from 7 p.m. Saturday night until 4 a.m. Monday morning.

• The department will limit the number of joints that can be removed at one time to 6 until we determine the impact of the changes.

Joint replacement work will continue on the joints and plates that are in place as of today. However, no new joints will be worked on until the new measures have been put in place, which should occur within the next 2 weeks or possibly sooner. This will also add a yet to be determined amount of time and cost to the project, estimated to be at least $150,000. Other measures considered were ruled out because of extreme traffic impacts or extraordinary cost overruns.

“We certainly understand the frustration that the traffic delays are causing for motorists,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “This section of LA 1 is and will continue to be an area of concern for commuters and we need to keep traffic moving as best and as safely as we can. The steel plates, which have been used on other bridges, including interstates, allow us to keep the bridge open while crews repair the joints, but we believe these new options will help address concerns and congestion.”

The $2.8 million project involves the replacement of 57 joints on the bridge. The aging bridge was scheduled to be completely replaced, but a lack of funding has prevented construction from occurring.

“If the revenue package would have passed in 2017, we would be well on our way to replacing this aging bridge and building a connector from LA 415 to LA 1. Unfortunately, the lack of investment in our state’s infrastructure has prevented a new LA 1 bridge from becoming reality causing a disproportionate amount of funds to be dedicated to maintenance,” said Wilson. “In the meantime, the replacement of the joints on the existing bridge will extend its life and avoid load postings.”

Image shows where the joint and concrete were removed and replaced with a steel plate.

The electronic sign displaying the times to cross the Mississippi River has been turned off for the duration of the project.

For the purposes of communicating the sequencing of repairs, the department is providing the following graphic. It shows a complete grouping of joints will be completely repaired before moving to additional joints. This will require steel plates in each lane at different times.