Hale Boggs Bridge closed to traffic this weekend

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 30, 2009



LULING – Motorists in St. Charles Parish who use the Hale Boggs Bridge over the Mississippi River to get to and from the east and west banks will have to take a lengthy detour this weekend.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation and Development said this week the entire bridge will be shut down from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and possibly Sunday so a work crew can install “cable saddles” at the top of the 155-foot-tall southernmost tower of the bridge along with replacement cables to support the bridge while the current cables are replaced.

“We have a crane arm that will be crossing above all lanes of traffic, so we have to close it,” said DOTD spokesman Dustin Annison. “We obviously can’t have cars passing while workers are in the air.”

Annison said officials hope to have all the work completed on Saturday, but DOTD scheduled a Sunday closure in the event of a weather issue delaying progress.

“The work can be done in the rain, but we will have to suspend it if the winds get too strong,” Annison said. “If we have to close Sunday, it will shut down at 6 a.m. and reopen at 6 p.m.”

Annison said the work is part of a $30.5 million project to replace all 72 cables on the 23-year-old bridge. He said individual strands of the grout-coated cables showed signs of corrosion. This weekend’s closure is the first of three needed to complete the job, which is expected to be finished by September of 2010.

Annison said the next closest bridge crossing is the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish, which is also undergoing a construction process. The good news, however, is no lane closures are scheduled on the bridge this weekend. Annison said the DOTD coordinated the scheduling so the two major river crossings would not be affected at the same time.