In its second video commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development feature the rebuilding of the Interstate 10 Twin Span Bridge connecting New Orleans to Slidell.
The first video provides and overview of planning and evacuation efforts now in place for future hurricanes.
In “I-10 Twin Span Bridge: Rebuilt and Reborn,” Bridge Design Engineer Administrator Paul Fossier and LDOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas detail the extent of damage Katrina dealt to the bridges as well as the work that went into reconstruction.
The storm surge had lifted the bridge panels up and set them down, created a look “like a line of dominoes had just fallen.”
“We knew it was going to be a historic effort from our part because we’ve never had a bridge structure this big, this long damaged to this amount,” Fossier says in the video. “The first mission was to get the bridge back up and running so we could have the connectivity restored.”
He continues that engineers had to analyze the “hydraulics” from the storm surge to determine the next steps. Prior to Katrina, staff members had visited and examined bridges in Florida damaged by Hurricane Ivan. The damage there was similar to what happened after Katrina.
“The new bridge had to be elevated over 20 feet higher than the existing bridge,” Fossier says. In addition to being elevated, the project was widened to six lanes from four.
“They did the design in-house and they actually got two lanes of traffic open in 45 days after Hurricane Katrina struck,” LeBas says, adding that the finished structure, recently renamed the Frank Davis Bridge, is “incredible.”
“We knew after Hurricane Katrina that it was so important to get that vital corridor back up and running for the recovery efforts, and for the economy of New Orleans.”