Today, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced that the load limit for the northbound lanes of the LA 1 Intracoastal Waterway Bridge has been lifted. The Southbound posting was lifted on May 1.
The load limit was lowered in both directions in late March when a routine bridge inspection discovered structural damage to steel angle plates, which are used to connect beams and girders to caps on the bridge. At the time, it was estimated that the load posting would be lifted by June.
The lower limit was posted for just 50 days while the contractor, C.E.C. out of Lafayette, replaced 672 angle plates that fasten the bridge floor beams to the lower support structure. Work was conducted in 11-hour shifts, seven days per week.
Painting of the angle plates will continue, but at this stage of the project the load posting can be released to allow all legal loads to use the structure. Work will continue to complete the painting until final completion within the next 2- 3 weeks.
“I’m thankful to all who worked tirelessly to get this bridge repaired in such a timely manner and to the bridge inspection team that discovered the deficiencies,” Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development said. “Safety and economic development are both top concerns for the department. The department had to lower the weight limits on the Intracoastal Bridge to protect travelers because heavy loads would have further damaged the angle plates. However, when this bridge was load-posted it caused commercial vehicles to take a lengthy alternate route. I appreciate the businesses and industries in the area for being patient while the repairs were conducted and our partners at Louisiana State Police for their assistance.”
The LA 1 Intracoastal Waterway 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.