St. Charles Parish drivers and commuters have found themselves in an all too familiar predicament this month, as the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development once again began performing work on the Hale Boggs Bridge.
Construction is progressing on southbound I-310 between LA 48 in Destrehan and LA 18 in Luling. Currently, the right lane is closed through Feb. 28, weather permitting, while crews patch the concrete deck along the bridge.
Facebook was abuzz this week with stories of motorists traveling as little as two miles in an hour and a half and bridge traffic backed up all the way down to Ormond.
Chris Welty, a DOTD public information officer, explained the need frequent repairs.
“The Hale Boggs Bridge opened in 1983,” he said. “When constructed, a special asphalt mix was used to withstand Louisiana’s traffic and hot summers, but the surface life was only 10 to 15 years. Ultimately, DOTD determined that was too short and built test sections to experiment with other asphalt mixes and concrete. The entire bridge deck was eventually resurfaced with concrete, which typically has a better surface life than asphalt. DOTD continues to study the bridge’s surface, as the development of potholes in concrete placed in 2016 is unexpected.”
Welty said DOTD has addressed potholes in the concrete decking with asphalt.
“Although this was a temporary fix, it allowed DOTD to patch areas with minimal disruption to traffic,” he said. “Now, concrete is being used for the repairs. When patching is complete in the southbound right lane, work will move to the southbound left lane. After that, work will start on the northbound deck.”
As motorists choose alternative routes and become more familiar with the construction zone, Welty said, delays are expected to shorten.
“We ask drivers to be patient as we work to improve their commute and we ask them to choose alternate routes when possible,” he said. “Drivers are encouraged to download the free 511 LA app on their smartphones or visit 511la.org before getting on the road. 511 provides continual updates about weather-related road conditions, road work, commercial vehicle restrictions, road closures, and other travel information.”
Welty said MyDOTD is another tool people can use to stay connected with DOTD and up-to-date on local projects, lane and road statuses, and other DOTD activity. Sign up and customizable alerts are available at wwwsp.dotd.la.gov.