DOTD has 'no concerns for safety' regarding Highrise

"We're going to spend the next 30 days with an inspection process to make sure the repairs can either be made in place or determined if the current repairs are good enough to withstand the utility of the bridge itself."

NEW ORLEANS -- It's been about a week and a half since a fire damaged part of the Highrise, and on Friday the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development gave an update.

"These things happen and unfortunately we have very little control when these things start," said  Scott Boyle with the DOTD.

Highrise traffic may be smooth sailing now, but nine days ago it was a different story.

Last week, a large tire fire on the east side of the canal, caused significant damage to parts of the bridge. For several days, several eastbound lanes were shut down so crews could inspect the structure and make repairs.

"The department worked very closely with a local company here that does great work, to restore the bridge to its original capacity of weight," said Shawn Wilson with the DOTD. "So right now, with the temporary repairs that've been put in place, we have no concerns for safety as we would on any bridge."

Lanes are now open and traffic for the most part is smooth sailing. However, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials say work is far from over.

"We're going to spend the next 30 days with an inspection process to make sure the repairs can either be made in place or determined if the current repairs are good enough to withstand the utility of the bridge itself," Wilson said.

And as crews work to make sure the Highrise is structurally safe, DOTD says measures are also being taken to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

"In this particular case, we intend to secure the bottom perimeter of the structure so that it's not a repetitive dump site," Wilson said. 

DOTD says they'll have a better idea of what work is needed on the bridge, if any, after that 30-day inspection. Depending on what they find, it may or may not mean more lane closures.

Be sure to stay with WWL-TV as this story develops.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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