DOTD: Company with history of delaying projects caused extended two-lane closure Thursday morning

DOTD: Company with history of delaying projects caused extended two-lane closure Thursday morning
Two lanes were closed Thursday morning while Coastal Bridge returned to the site to temporarily patch a pothole.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An emergency lane closure on I-10 Eastbound had two lanes closed for several hours Thursday morning.

According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Coastal Bridge, a company with a long history of falling behind on other highway construction projects, was contracted to complete a nighttime patching job on I-10 at the College Drive exit.

DOTD: Company with history of delaying projects caused extended two-lane closure Thursday morning

The concrete did not set properly, which led to an unacceptable pothole forming, DOTD says.

DOTD closed the two right lanes and had the contractor return to the site to make a temporary concrete patch.

“The morning commute was frustrating for thousands of people,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. “This was supposed to be an overnight job which would have minimized travel impacts. However, when the concrete did not set properly it led to an unforeseen closure. Unfortunately in construction, we have to be responsive and time does not always allow for conditions to remain normal during an emergency repair. The contractor will be held accountable and under state law the contractor will be charged for lane usage fees.”

Traffic Thursday morning was already heavily impacted by lane closures in both directions on La. 1, just across the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, due to ongoing joint repairs and emergency repairs to a girder that was struck by a dump truck.

Even after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, traffic stretched from the site of the patching job on I-10 E at College over 14 miles towards Grosse Tete.

Traffic Thursday morning stretched over 14 miles even as late at 10:30 a.m. (Source: WAFB)
Traffic Thursday morning stretched over 14 miles even as late at 10:30 a.m. (Source: WAFB)

Coastal Bridge was at the center of a 9News Investigation in November of 2018, having owed the state more than a half-million dollars in fines, and not finishing a project on LA 431 in Gonzales for nearly two years. People who live there said construction crews dug their yards then suddenly stopped working.

9News Investigators: Coastal Bridge

Since 2012, Coastal Bridge has consistently fallen behind on other roadway projects to the point where the state has levied late fees of up to $3,000 per day.

As of Oct. 12, 2018, fines levied against the La. 431 contract had reached over $25,000.

Wilson said that state law holds that the company that bids lowest on highway projects must be given the job.

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