Repairs begin on Katrina-damaged I-10, U.S. 90

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Work to repair the hurricane-damaged twin-span bridge that carries Interstate 10 traffic between New Orleans and Slidell, La., over Lake Pontchartrain is under way.

“Restoring this critical eastward link for New Orleans will speed recovery of the city and the entire Gulf region,” said Norman Mineta, the U.S. transportation secretary.

Boh Brothers Construction of New Orleans, currently operating out of its offices in Baton Rouge, La., was awarded a contract Sept. 9 to repair the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina. The contract requires work to be completed within 45 days.

The eastbound span will be repaired first, so that one lane in each direction will be functional, Mineta said.

Tow-lane traffic is expected on the bridge within 120 days.

The contract includes a $50,000-per-day incentive to complete the work ahead of schedule and penalties if the repairs are not done on time, Mineta said.

Meanwhile, work began Sept. 9 on a temporary replacement road for U.S. 90 in Mississippi. The Mississippi companies of Mallette Brothers Construction, Warren Paving and Huey Stockstill were selected for that project.

Parts of the road will be opened as work progresses, with full completion of the highway from Pass Christian to Biloxi scheduled for Dec. 9.

“The effort there is to open a temporary roadway to allow work crews and other emergency personnel to have access to allow the recovery to occur as quickly as possible,” said Brian Keeter, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“President Bush understands that U.S. 90 is a vital economic lifeline for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast,” Mineta said. “The administration will be a full partner and work hand-in-hand with Gov. [Haley] Barbour until this lifeline is strong and vibrant again.”

Mississippi will receive $5 million in federal funding as a down payment on the repair or replacement of damaged roads and bridges throughout the state. Mineta made the announcement during a visit to Mississippi.