Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
METAIRIE, La. -- There's a gap between the beams in the new ramp being built over the westbound Interstate 10 at Causeway Boulevard. Installing the huge steel girders to fill it is the reason all the westbound lanes will be closed for 16 hours, beginning at 3 a.m. Sunday.
"This is the new South Causeway to I-10 East onramp, and these are the last pieces that make the crossing," said State Project Engineer Rick Skoien. "It's 103 feet long, it's four girders."
Installing the four beams with over 100 bolts apiece will take hours, and the engineers expect an epic traffic jam.
"It's gonna be heavy delays. It could be a delay down to Downtown from Metairie," said Skoien, who warned drivers to avoid the area."
"It's going to be a mess around here, let me tell you, because you're going to have to take all these side streets, and Causeway is already a mess," said one driver.
State engineers urge drivers heading westbound on I-10 to take Airline Drive to Clearview and back to I-10. Drivers heading west on I-610 are urged to take I-10 east to Airline, then to Clearview.
The Bonnabel entrance will be closed, drivers detoured to Veterans, and while the Causeway exit westbound will be open with one lane allowing drivers to return to the interstate on the other side of the blockage, engineers know that route will be jammed.
They expect to have the work finished and I-10 Westbound reopened by 7 p.m. Sunday.
But the engineers point out it is not the last time they'll have to close I-10 for work on these bridges.
"There will be one more closure at least to pour the concrete on this ramp, and then in September there will be a closure of I-10 East and West on different Sundays to build the Veterans to I-10 East onramp," said Rick Skoien.
They hope to open the new ramps by the new year.