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City on the hook for repairs after worker crashed into overpass; bridge still closed months later

2 months 1 week 3 days ago Monday, November 28 2022 Nov 28, 2022 November 28, 2022 7:14 PM November 28, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - For the last six months, drivers who regularly take the interchange between Airline Highway and Florida Boulevard have had to find an alternate route. 

A crash caused a shutdown of the on and off ramps in May. WBRZ learned this week that the damage was caused by a city-parish maintenance worker who did not properly tie down a large piece of equipment.

“Our maintenance people were hauling a track hoe and had the boom up a little too high and as they were moving to the east lot to put the track hoe at, it hit the upper portion of the approach area at Airline Highway and Florida and it created a real problem with the girders," said Fred Raiford with the Department of Drainage and Transportation.

The city-parish is rightfully taking the blame. The damage to the structure is so significant that it will take months to fix. DOTD says repairs could take a while because the bridge is so old, and an entirely new girder will need to be designed. Supply chain issues are also slowing down the process.

“I know we’ve been working very closely with DOTD to try and see when they’re going to move forward with making the necessary repairs. I understand that they’re supposed to be meeting with a contractor in November and hopefully, some work will take place in December," Raiford said.

While an official price has not been set, DOTD expects the price tag on a repair could be anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000. 

“We’re self-insured. Whatever expenses are going to be necessary to remedy the situation, the city-parish will be responsible for those dollars," Raiford said.

The driver of the city-parish maintenance truck responsible for the damage has been reprimanded. Raiford says the driver was required to take additional classes about safety and tying down large pieces of equipment for transportation.

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