Boaters warned of falling concrete from Interstate 210 bridge

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Boaters should use caution when passing

under the Interstate 210 bridge because pieces of nonstructural

concrete are falling

from underneath the bridge and may range from pea-sized chips to

large chunks weighing up to 100 pounds, said Sheron Faulk,

owner of Ship to Shore Co.

Faulk said the Lake Charles Sail and

Power Squadron, Calcasieu River Waterway Harbor and Safety Committee,

and Lake Charles

Yacht Club issued the safety advisory. She said boaters are

encouraged to pass under the middle of the bridge where protective

netting was placed as a temporary fix.

The netting extends across the main

channel and about 125 feet beyond the channel to the east and west,

according to Don Duberville,

assistant district administrator of operations for the state

Department of Transportation and Development. He said boaters

should be cautious, but they do not have to avoid going under the

bridge.

“It’s not like it’s raining concrete,” he said.

Crews with F Miller Construction LLC first noticed pieces of falling concrete in June 2011 while working on a “pier protection

project,” Duberville said. Faulk said the workers were replacing a system that protects the bridge’s columns from impacts

by boats or barges.

Faulk said netting was installed to protect the workers from stray pieces of falling concrete. After the project was completed

in August, the problem was reported to the Calcasieu River Waterway Harbor and Safety Committee.

Faulk said vibrations from traffic are causing more concrete to fall.

Duberville said the DOTD bridge

maintenance staff in Baton Rouge is designing a project to chip away any

remaining concrete.

Steve Jiles, DOTD’s district administrator, said the safety

advisory could be in place for about three months or until a contract

is awarded to perform the work.

Jiles said DOTD officials have not received any reports of injuries from the falling concrete pieces.

“As far as we know, the falling concrete is not frequent,” he said.