DOTD: Bad concrete mixture may have lead to cracked supports

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by Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on November 19, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, state transportation leaders are hoping to soon reopen a new ramps, recently closed because of a cracked support.

The cracked column and cap are hard to miss.

"If you go out and look at it today, it looks like a spider web," said DOTD New Orleans area administrator Mike Stack.

Inspectors first noticed the cracks six months ago, but in September the department decided to go ahead and open the new flyover ramp.

It connects Causeway Boulevard to the westbound Interstate 10.

The ramp closed less than a month later, much to the dismay of local drivers.

"They opened it, then closed it," said driver Dennis Lee. "I said what's going on? Why would would it open and close right back up in a few weeks, you know. It was odd."

"I had no idea what to do, how to get on the I-10, you know, said driver Robert Howell.

"Do we think that this is an imminent failure on this structure, no, but in the interest of public safety, we don't take any chances," said Stack.

Stack admits they don't know for sure what caused the concrete to crack.

He thinks there was something wrong with the concrete mixture on this column and another cracked support on a nearby ramp, still under construction.

"Everything tested fine," said Stack. "We approved that mix. Now we're experiencing these cracks it could have something to do with mix. It may not even have been a construction thing."

Boh Brothers is the contractor on the I-10 improvement project.

Stack is confident the company will cover the cost of fixing the damaged supports if it's found to be at fault.

"We will settle our differences, if you will, if there are any after the fact," said Stack. "The important thing was to get the one that we have removed already rebuilt and reopened."

Until then there are two detours, a makeshift ramp to the west bound I-10 at Severn and the interstate...drivers can also drive the service road to Bonnabel and make a u-turn.

 

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