In the US state of Louisiana, excessive settlement of the piles for the LA 1 replacement bridge in West Baton Rouge could delay the project.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said in a press release that the construction delay to the US$57.7 million project could be as much as 10 months, according to local media.
The department is working with a contractor on a geotechnical survey to see what might be the best solution. Low-mobility grouting, where grout is injected into the ground beneath the piles to compact loose soils, could be one option.
Work to replace the southbound bridge began in April 2022. The new bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway will be constructed on the west side of the existing bridge. This is part of a two-phased project with contractor Kiewit Louisiana.
The second phase, which could be tendered this summer, will see removal of both existing bridges and construction a northbound bridge, as well as connecting roads on the south side of the bridge. Both bridges will have lanes around 3.7m wide and 3m-wide shoulders.
The bridge replacement project is vital to the nation’s economy, according to a non-political group supporting the project, the LA1 Coalition. LA 1 Highway 1 (LA 1) is the only access to the vast energy resources in the US Gulf of Mexico, notes the coalition. This critical, two-lane highway is the only roadway supporting Port Fourchon – the US’s busiest intermodal energy port, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) and Grand Isle.
Combined, these locations service over 16 percent of the US’s domestic crude oil production and 4 percent of natural gas production. The highway also supports 20 percent of this nation’s seafood production and eco-tourism destinations like Grand Isle, Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island.