Architecture company says 2 compromised steel beams found at library, repairs underway

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The architecture company over the construction of the new library in downtown Baton Rouge said two compromised steel beams were found by the structural engineer and repair measures are being taken Thursday afternoon.

The information sent by the River Center Branch Library per WHLC Architecture indicated it is anticipated the repair measures will involve welding those compromised beams. Officials said the repairs will ensure that the contractor can return to work on the project Friday.

However, it will depend on the completion of the repairs and the approval from the structural engineer. Officials added the repairs will allow for the reopening of the lanes of North Boulevard that are currently closed.

WHLC stated a full structural report and analysis is expected at the end of the week. Officials said it will include more information about the issue and any additional measures needed.

The architect over the construction said some sort of movement triggered some cracks in the sheetrock in the upper levels of the building.

Mike Hill did not specify what kind of movement happened. He added they had not seen any additional movement in the building since Wednesday.

Late Wednesday afternoon, due to a scare with the building under construction, nearby buildings were evacuated and streets were closed. Thursday morning, those streets remained closed and the 19th Judicial District Courthouse did not open until 1 p.m.

Hill said Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's account of the building settling was not accurate. He said they had crews at the site all day doing repairs at no additional cost to the taxpayers. They're expected to wrap up the repairs by the end of Thursday with some minor cosmetic repairs continuing into the coming weeks, Hill added.

It was December 2016 when officials began the process of demolished the old library and began construction on what will be the new downtown library. The estimated cost for the entire project is $19 million. So far, $11.68 million has already been paid to the contractors. About $5.15 million has yet to be paid for the work. Another nearly $2 million will be leftover to spend on furnishings and technology.

Hill said construction workers are expected to return to work Friday and the library is expected to be completed by summer 2018.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.