(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 7:19 PM
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.