The backup on the I-10 High Rise is well known to drivers, but businesses on either end are feeling the slow down as well.
"So I've actually told customers why don't you come next week unless you really need this today," Michael Hayden said.
Hayden, with Riverside Lumber in New Orleans East, is hoping for some good news from the Department of Transportation, but after the DOTD spent a day inspecting the I-10 High Rise Bridge, they say the damage is significant.
"The closures are precautionary measure to keep weight off of the damaged girders,” Scott Boyle with the DOTD said. "The temperatures can and did reach a point to where they can cause damage, to whether they would start affecting the strength and physical properties of the concrete."
The department is now rushing to repair the girders below the bridge and restore the normal flow of traffic. It sounds scary, but the engineers say the High Rise is still safe to drive on.
Kerwin Julien, a civil engineer, said that the fire could have evaporated the water inside the concrete, causing it to shrink.
"At about 200 degrees there's water within the concrete that starts to evaporate, and cement starts to shrink and contract,” Julien said.
According to NOFD, the tire fire under the bridge burned for about 30 minutes, but even after the flames went out, the damage may have continued.
“All of that expansion took place,” Julien said about the concrete cooling down after the fire. “All of a sudden, the concrete undergoes another shock.
The good news is that the bridge won’t have to be completely shut down.
"There's a system of support underneath the roadway depth in which you ride on, and we luckily only a couple experienced damage,” Boyle said.
But repairs are expected to last into next week, bad news for drivers.
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