In the News 7-5-2007

Skull found in Luling – origin still unclear police say

A box filled with a skull and some other skeletal remains that was brought to the attention of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office was not an immediate cause for concern according to Sheriff’s spokesperson Capt. Pat Yoes.

The only thing so far Yoes could confirm on the matter was that the remains were discovered in a box on a vacant lot in Luling, and officials believe that some of the other remains in the box aren’t human.

“We’ve gotten in touch with the property owner and at this point have no reason to believe it’s anything other than a souvenir,” Yoes said. “The official word right now is that we’re looking into it.”

– By CALEB FREY, Staff Reporter

Hale Boggs bridge is work in progress says DOTD

The now 24-year-old Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge has been a work in progress for the Department of Transportation since it’s inception in St. Charles parish in October of 1983, but officials say it’s all part of the cost of progress.

The bridge originally opened in October of 1983, connecting the east and west banks of St. Charles Parish, but since opening, the DOTD has been trying to find a surface that adheres to the unique layout of the bridge without eroding prematurely, according to Louisiana DOTD spokesperson Brendan Rush.

“The average temperature and heat in Louisiana combined with the fact that the bridge moves turned out to be more wear and tear on the road surface of the bridge than expected,” Rush said.

Noticing the short life span of the asphalt used to pave the bridge, the DOTD began years ago pulling up 200-300 foot sections of asphalt-covered steel plates and testing alternative surfaces such as different types of asphalt, fiber reinforcement, and steel reinforcement.

The last such test was done approximately three years ago, Rush said, and the DOTD has been monitoring the different sections and how they’ve sustained over the years.

“Eventually they’ll make a decision of what they want to use for the whole bridge,” Rush said. “It will certainly be something that can stand up to the heat.”

The 10,700 ft bridge was actually the first cable-stayed bridge in the United States and as of the last official traffic count, 37,500 vehicles travel the bridge daily, which also add to the rate of erosion, Rush said.

A common myth about why the bridge’s roads would deteriorate has to do with the salt in the air from the Mississippi River, according to Rush, but those theories are greatly exaggerated.

“There is salt in the air where the bridge is, but it’s not like if the bridge was built in Grand Isle,” Rush said. “Anytime you build a bridge over water there are going to be some affects but for this bridge, the heat is really the big issue.”

– By CALEB FREY, Staff Reporter


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