Damage to hurricane-ravaged infrastructure tallied

News AASHTO Journal September 26, 2005
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Bids on some repairs to one Interstate 10 bridge in Jackson County were already being let as of Wednesday morning. Engineers hope to have that bridge repaired by the end of September.

Mississippi DOT spokeswoman Gae Wade said the cost of removing and replacing two destroyed bridges on waterside Hwy. 90 is estimated to be about $200 million. They are the 1.9-mile Bay St. Louis Bridge and the 1.6-mile bridge from Biloxi to Ocean Springs.

Other damage to infrastructure in Mississippi included extensive destruction of the four-lane Hwy. 90, which runs for 83 miles across Mississippi from Louisiana to Alabama, and a CSX railroad bridge outage in Bay St. Louis.

Despite the severe damage, USA Today reported that most roads and bridges in the three-state area of damage remained unstable, needing only be cleared of sand and debris. As many evacuees returned, those roads that were back in service were crowded.

In Louisiana, much of I-10 on either side of New Orleans requires repair, including a need to replace missing deck sections on the “twin span” crossing over Lake Ponchartrain. The Louisiana DOT told USA Today that that roadway can be repaired by January if crews work around the clock. Other Louisiana road damage includes sections of I-55 between Hammond and New Orleans; many other area roads remained closed as authorities assessed their stability and safety or waited for floodwater to drain off them.

In Alabama, the affected state farthest from the hurricane’s eye at landfall, the most significant road or bridge damage appeared to be the shifting by two inches of the cable-stayed Cochran-Africatown Bridge on U.S. 90, which was struck by an oil-drilling rig that floated down the Mobile River and slammed into the structure, USA Today reported. The bridge currently is in use, with its four lanes reduced to two, but eventually it will be jacked up and moved back into its proper alignment, according to Alabama Department of Transportation Director Joe McInnes.

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