Sinking building built on swamp to be repaired

Cajun Coast Welcome Center in Morgan City, LA
Cajun Coast Welcome Center in Morgan City, LA

MORGAN CITY, LA (WAFB) - The Cajun Coast Welcome Center in St. Mary Parish that started sinking into the swamp last year will now be repaired. Officials say it is expected to be open by July 2013.

On June 14, 2012, the Welcome Center was less than six weeks from completion when a painter noticed a crack in the sheet rock. A contractor was made aware of the problem and then everyone was told to get out of the building. That is when it started to sink.

When looking at the building, you could see a dip in the middle and a crack in the chimney.

Officials said the 16,000 square-foot building sank about five feet. The building was engineered according to soil samples taken at the site, but at the end of the day, it was built on a swamp.

Less than seven months later, the paperwork for the settlement of the foundation failure and a signed contract to fix the facility has been completed. Expert House Movers will lift the building, fix the foundation, and make any repairs needed to get the building ready for use.

The parties involved reached an agreement to fund the nearly $3.4 million needed to elevate, reconstruct and finish the Welcome Center. $3.1 million comes from contributions from the various insurers, and $260,000 which remained in the budget for the work which was unfinished prior to the foundation failure.

Selective demolition to the building began Wednesday and the project is expected to be completed by July 2013. The center sits at the Martin Luther King exit near an elevated portion of U.S. Highway 90 in Morgan City.

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