Cajun Coast welcome center to be lifted in about a month
MORGAN CITY — The process of getting the Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretive Center in Morgan City ready to be raised is a little more than halfway done, according to the contractor for the project.
Joe Matyiko, president of Expert House Movers Inc. based in St. Louis, Mo., said workers have installed “push piers,” or segments of steel piping, used to raise the building, in about 120 spots around the building. They will install the push piers in 228 spots, he said.
A total of 110 to 120 feet of push piers will be installed at each of the spots, he said. The process of using 20-ton hydraulic jacks at each spot to push the push piers to the desired depth will take about 30 days more days.
“You have to insert them one at a time to get to the depth or the PSI (pounds per square inch) that’s needed,” he said. Brackets are attached to the side of holes in the concrete slab. The brackets are attached to each other underneath the beams below the building in order to lift it, he said.
The Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau commission completed the settlement for the foundation failure and signed a contract with Expert House Movers Inc. to lift the building, fix the foundation and repair the building in January.
Expert House Movers Inc. along with Brownie Companies have been working since January to lift the building that sunk more than four feet in June about a month before the center was scheduled to be completed. The lowest spot of the building sagged 51 inches, Matyiko said.
“Once wHole get all of these spots down to where we need them, then we hook up our unified hydraulic jacking system,” he said.
The unified system will lift the building, which weighs about 1,200 tons, according to an Expert House Movers Inc. press release.
The actual lifting process will take about a week, Matyiko said.
The longest part of the process was drilling the holes in the concrete slab to install the push piers, Matyiko said. Now the process is moving along fairly quickly, he added.
The center is expected to be completed by July, but parking lot work will still be going on, said Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury.