In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just a few miles to the east of Interstate 10 (I-10) over Lake Pontchartrain.
The existing I-10 twin spans suffered severe damages and had to be temporarily repaired under emergency contracts while a completely new twin span crossing was designed, permitted, and advertised for construction. To make the permitting process as efficient as possible and to expedite procurement, the project was broken into multiple contracts. The Traylor-Kiewit-Massman joint venture was awarded the main span contract in December of 2006.
Because of the bridge’s isolated location and exposure to weather, the project had many environmental challenges. The main span portion of the project was essentially an island with no land access from either direction. All material, equipment, and personnel had to be supported from the project yard, 3.5 miles away, entirely by boat and barge. This presented many difficulties as the wind, waves, and weather was unpredictable; severe weather and rough seas could develop very quickly. Other challenges included limited resources in the post-Katrina strained Gulf Coast. Most of the project resources had to be brought in to the area, including workers, marine equipment, and supplies. Precast concrete products were shipped 700 miles down the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.
The project entailed 1.1 miles of new twin bridges composed of 1,056 36-inch square piles (125,824 linear feet (lf), bent caps, waterline footings, columns and pier caps, 456 BT-78 precast concrete girders (61,348 lf), structural steel mainspans (1,886 tons), poured-in-place deck. The structures required 54,709 cubic yards of concrete and 5,054 tons of reinforced steel. The project was completed on schedule and budget.