Hurricane Katrina slammed the central Gulf Coast with 145 mph sustained winds on the morning of August 29, 2005. The former Category five storm walloped the coastline, sending a 25 foot plus storm surge into Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, and Biloxi, Mississippi, decimating over 80 percent of those coastal communities. The north winds generated from the storm pushed Lake Pontchartrain waters over and through the levee system that protects the city of New Orleans, inundating over 80 percent of the city with 9 feet of lake water. In the days after the landfall, all but 11,000 city residents of the Crescent City were evacuated or had already fled before the storm. All roads leading into New Orleans and roads along the Mississippi Gulf Coast were affected by Hurricane Katrina.
A list of roads that closed due to storm related damage in the Deep South:
Although Baton Rouge was well west of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the influx of thousands of New Orleans refuges took its toll on the local area road network. Adjustments to the signals along main streets and arterials, removal of some signals and restricted left-turn access, and the possible restriping of Interstate 110 to allow six lanes of traffic instead of four were underway to improve the situation.3
As of October 18, 2005, all of the major arteries through the New Orleans metropolitan area reopened in some capacity. These include Interstates 10 , 510, and 610, Interstate 55, Interstate 310, the U.S. 11 span between New Orleans and Slidell, and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Tolls resumed along the Crescent City Connection Bridge and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. LADOTD 511 provided an overview of storm related closures and http://www.wwltv.com/traffic/ for updated Parish Road closures information.
The 5.4-mile long bridges spanning Lake Pontchartrain between U.S. 11 at Irish Bayou and the North Shore at Slidell suffered tremendous damage. Many portions of the bridge deck were toppled by Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge in similar fashion to the Interstate 10 Escambia Bay Bridges in Pensacola due to Hurricane Ivan the previous year. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) announced on September 9, 2005 that a 45-day $30.9-million project would restore at least three lanes of traffic between St. Tammany and Orleans Parish. Crews first repaired the least damaged of the two spans to accommodate at least one lane of traffic in each direction by salvaging as many of the precast concrete bridge deck portions from the more damaged bridge for use on the least damaged span. In conjunction with that project, contractors affixed the more damaged bridge with temporary metal panels to allow for one lane of traffic on that bridge. Completion of overall project was expected by January 2006.
Boh Bros. Construction Co. completed the repairs of one of the twin bridges 14 days ahead of schedule. The eastbound span opened to two-way traffic on October 14, 2005 with a speed limit of 50 mph. The westbound span reopened on January 5, 2006 with the addition of temporary metal truss spans to carry one lane of traffic.13 Later the bridge accommodated two lanes of traffic with a 45 mph restricted speed limit and no shoulders. Periodic lane closures occurred regularly between 9 am and 1 pm Monday through Thursday.
Boh Bros. Construction Co., of New Orleans, the winning bidder of the bridge repair contract, undertook bridge maintenance of the repaired spans for a three year period after completion of the initial project. During the first quarter of 2006, LADOTD sought bids for a pair of replacement spans for the Interstate 10 Lake Pontchartrain crossing. Work began in June 2006 on the $733-million project, which covered construction of 30 foot high spans with three lanes and two 12-foot shoulders per bridge.14 Funding for projects was covered under the special funding package from Congress passed September 12, 2005.1
More on the bridge project found at the Twin Bridges guide.
- Chef Menteur Pass Bridge – U.S. 90.
The truss bridge over the Chef Menteur Pass in east New Orleans remained closed through November 30, 2005 due to structural damage. Repairs of the span were expected to be completed by late January of 2006. U.S. 90 otherwise was fully open to traffic from the Rigolets Bridge east to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
- Movable bridges in eastern Louisiana affected by Katrina.
From the “DOTD says 22 movable bridges damaged in area affected by Katrina” LADOTD press release, September 16, 2005:
Following is a list of the 17 state-owned bridges damaged in the storm, the contractor assigned and estimated repair time, if available:
- Bayou Liberty bridge, La. 433, in St. Tammany Parish: total repair of pontoon bridge, Coastal Bridges, estimated six months.
- Chef Menteur, U.S. 90, Orleans Parish: electrical/mechanical repairs, Boh Brothers, 60 days. Bridge reopened in 2006.
- Rigolets, U.S. 90, Orleans Parish: electrical/mechanical repairs, Coastal Bridges, 30 days; a new high rise bridge is under construction as of 2007 to replace the original bridge.
- Bayou Barataria, La. 302, Jefferson: electrical/mechanical repairs, Boh Brothers, seven days.
- Judge Perez, La. 23, Plaquemines Parish: electrical, mechanical and machinery house repairs, General Engineering and Construction.
- North Draw, U.S. 11 over Lake Pontchartrain, Orleans Parish: electrical/mechanical repairs, Boh Brothers.
- East Pearl River, U.S. 90, on the Mississippi-Louisiana border, St. Tammany Parish: electrical/mechanical repairs, CEC, estimated 30 days.
- West Pearl River, U.S. 90, on the Mississippi-Louisiana border, St. Tammany Parish: electrical/mechanical repairs, CEC.
- Madisonville, La. 22 over the Tchefuncte, St. Tammany: electrical/mechanical repairs, contract pending.
- Bonfouca, La. 433, St. Tammany: electrical/mechanical repairs, contract pending.
- West Larose, La. 1 over the Intracoastal Waterway, Lafourche: electrical/mechanical repairs, no contract. (Electrical work already has been performed by E.P. Breaux to make the bridge operational, but other major work remains to be done.)
- Golden Meadow, La. 308, over Bayou Lafourche, Lafourche Parish: roof repair, no contract.
- Galliano, La. 308, over Bayou Lafourche, Lafource Parish; repairs completed.
- Yscloskey, La. 46, St. Bernard: electrical/mechanical repairs, no contract.
- IHNC St. Claude, La. 46, Orleans Parish, no contract.
- IHNC Danziger, U.S. 90, Orleans Parish, no contract.
- IHNC Claiborne, La. 39, Orleans Parish, no contract.