U.S. 90 repairs begin, lane to close
MORGAN CITY, La. -- Right lane closures on westbound U.S. 90 over Bayou Ramous indicate the first work to repair girder cracks on the 2.5 miles of elevated roadway near the St. Mary/Assumption parish line where traffic has been restricted for eight months.
Westbound U.S. 90 over Bayou Ramos will have a right lane closure beginning Friday. Intermittent short-term traffic stops can be expected due to the roadway construction, Bill Oliver, Department of Transportation and Development District 3 engineer administrator, said.
The lane closure and intermittent traffic stops will occur starting at 8 a.m. and will last three to five hours, Oliver said.
Phase 1 of the Bayou Ramos rehabilitation includes repairing girders and load testing. This work went to bid in October. It is unknown who the contractor for the job is as Oliver could not be reached for comment this morning.
Previously, state officials said remaining girders will be addressed in Phase 2, which is scheduled to take place in fiscal year 2013-14.
In June, engineers determined that the concrete used to pour the affected sections was good.
Core samples from the damaged sections revealed no irregularities, according to Oliver.
“We still are not sure of what the causes are,” Oliver said, adding that engineers may never know the reason unless the girders — located between the substructure where they hold up the decks cars drive on — are destroyed and studied.
Oliver called the cracks “unexpected” in a bridge of this age. It opened July 20, 1999, but this particular section was constructed in 1994. He noted that the problem is unique in the state, but may not be unique in the nation.
Because he has not seen the cracks himself, Oliver could not describe the amount or size of the cracks, but said they are “a little more than hairline.”
The cracks were discovered while state workers were conducting a routine inspection in March. The bridge’s load limit was reduced shortly thereafter with truck traffic weighing greater than 15-25 tons being detoured to guarantee that no further damage occurs to the structure.
That weight limit, as well as the detour for trucks over the weight limit, remains in effect until the bridge section is repaired.
The detour for trucks traveling westbound is U.S. 90 to Lake Palourde Bypass Road (exit 181) to La. 182 and back to U.S. 90. The detour for trucks traveling eastbound is U.S. 90 to La. 182 (Morgan City exit) to Lake Palourde Bypass Road and back to U.S. 90.