MyArkLaMiss.com reported on the recent lane closures on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge and why they are happening in the first place.
In August of 2019, four tractor-trailers were involved in an accident near Whiskey Bay on the bridge. One of the trucks caught fire and one of them was carrying lumber. Workers removed the lumber from the truck, but it still caught fire.
The heat from the fire caused the concrete to swell. When the concrete cooled, it began to crack and flake off, a process called spalling. While the bridge was inspected for safety after the crash and considered sound, the spalling presented a problem.
Once this process starts, it can spread really quickly from water and the pressure of the cars. It’s the same process that happens when a pothole is made. If the damage wasn’t repaired soon, the cracking could have reached down to a structural component of the bridge rather than just the surface. That’s why the current repair project is being considered and emergency. Road crews will remove the damaged top layer of the bridge deck and replace it.
Road crews expect to be finished with the construction project in a little under a week. We imagine commuters on the bridge are looking forward to the completion.