Skip to comments.Lane closures on I-10 high-rise bridge in New Orleans likely to continue after fire damage
Posted on 11/22/2017 11:10:01 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Commuters who take the Interstate 10 high-rise bridge over the Industrial Canal should be ready for continued delays, with two eastbound lanes shut down out of concern for the span's structural integrity, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said Friday.
Following a large tire fire Wednesday under the bridge on the east side of the canal, crews have shut down two of the three eastbound lanes on the bridge, and the work could continue into early next week. The westbound lanes are open.
An overhead traffic camera operated by WWL-TV on Friday showed heavy traffic on the eastbound approach to the bridge as drivers funneled into a single lane.
DOTD said an inspection Thursday revealed significant damage to two girders under the bridge, spurring concern about the span's structural integrity. The New Orleans Fire Department said the blaze had caused one of the bridge's pillars to crack.
Workers could be seen Friday removing tires and trees so they could get access to the pillar and girders.
Drivers can avoid the bottleneck by taking Chef Menteur Highway over the Industrial Canal or by following North Claiborne Avenue into Chalmette, then taking Paris Road to I-10.
The fire was first reported about 9 p.m. Wednesday at the site of a long-defunct vehicle inspection station near Downman Road, the NOFD said. The "very large trash fire" was primarily fueled by a large number of tires, it said.
After the fire was brought under control about 9:45 p.m., firefighters saw evidence of "spalling," or flaking, on several of the columns supporting the interstate, prompting the decision to keep part of the bridge closed.
"The closures are a precautionary measure to keep weight off of the damaged girders, Scott Boyle, of DOTD, told WWL-TV. "The temperatures can and did reach a point where they can cause damage, to where they would start affecting the strength and physical properties of the concrete."
The department is rushing to complete repairs, but engineers said the high-rise is safe to drive on.
Kerwin Julien, a civil engineer, said the fire could have evaporated the water inside the concrete, causing it to shrink. "At about 200 degrees, there's water within the concrete that starts to evaporate, and cement starts to shrink and contract, Julien told WWL-TV.
On Friday, New Orleans City Councilman James Gray and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond sent a letter to Gov. John Bel Edward with an "urgent request" that state and local law enforcement help ease traffic problems associated with the partial closure. They asked the State Police, New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office to get involved.
DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Sheriff Marlin Gusman were copied on the letter.
"The work is causing extreme inconvenience for our constituents who are required to travel the route each day for work or other matters," the letter read.
In March, a somewhat similar set of circumstances caused part of Interstate 85 in Atlanta to collapse, resulting in $16 million in damage and six weeks of traffic delays. The Atlanta fire was caused when someone set fire to construction materials stored under the bridge, officials said.
In response, officials in several states, including Louisiana, said they had ordered inspections under bridges and highways for any debris or trash that might be flammable, according to a CNN report.
In New Orleans East, locals have long raised safety concerns about illegal dumping the cause of other fires in the neighborhood, according to the East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission. Residents have urged the City Council to impose harsher penalties for repeat offenders.
The subject has cropped up in recent campaigns, too. Mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell has said that if elected, she would prioritize clean-up efforts and increase penalties for littering and illegal dumping.
I’m glad I saw this thread, I’m planning to be going from the West Bank to I-10 and east to the Gulf Coast - looks like I’ll be using the Chalmette - Algiers ferry.
Jeez, New Orleans, a city with much ground below sea level neglects maintenance on the large pumps they need with the not unexpected consequence of pump failures followed by flooding.
Not having learned their lesson they then allow a dangerous buildup of discarded tires & other trash UNDER a major highway overpass with not unexpected consequences following. RATS do such a wonderful job running things.
This is an old article. All lanes back open.
All lanes reopen on Interstate 10 high-rise bridge in New Orleans
Nov 21, 2017 - 2:34 pm
All lanes have reopened on the Interstate 10 high-rise bridge in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
This is a rhetorical question. No need to answer.
My thoughts too - wondered if someone didn’t get an idea from when the PVC pipe fire under the bridge in Atlanta took the bridge out...
Y'all want to keep an eye out for piles of flammable materials stored under bridges? Please! WTF are you getting paid for?
Combustibles stored under elevated roadways has become a damned common hazard nationwide. Have a problem with Louisiana in particular, or do other regions rate contempt as well?
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