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Old 01-17-2018, 10:48 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
When we are headed west now from Miami, we take I10 west as far as I55 (near NOLA) then north to Jackson, west on I20 and use I220 to get around Shreveport (which is by far the worst section of I20).

It costs us some retrograde movement toward the east (NOLA - Jackson) but it is a lot easier on both the trailer and us.


Thanks for this. I missed your comment earlier. An interesting idea!
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:04 PM   #22
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I-12?

Was wondering if I-12 shares the same qualities as I-10? We would only be going as far as Baton Rouge West bound before heading off to the Northwest.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:09 PM   #23
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Two years ago we drove from Florida to Lafayette, LA and back for the Cajun Country Caravan. I asked on here and was told to avoid I-12, so on the way we took I-10. On the way back I said "I-12 couldn't be worse" so we tried it. It had just been paved and was a great ride. Assuming it hasn't fallen apart since then, I'd take I-12 in a heartbeat.

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Old 01-20-2018, 08:11 AM   #24
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Lake Charles I-10 Bridge Danger

If you are on I-10 you can take the loop around Lake Charles and bypass the bridge we’re talking about. The Loop number is I-210. I have been taking that route for a few years now since I travel across Louisiana quite a bit. It is freeway all the way around Lake Charles
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Old 01-28-2018, 06:46 PM   #25
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We survived I-10 eastbound last week, including the Lake Charles bridge. Yes, I was going slower than most of the rest of the traffic, but that isn't unusual. Yes, there were some bumps, but no worse than many other places. The worst spots were the intersections of bridges and their approaches. It seemed like the 10' or so just on either end of the actual bridge were a few inches lower than than either the rest of the road or the bridge.

What we found interesting is that much of I-10 is elevated, as in one long bridge. Swamp is below the road, and Jo Ann is pretty sure that she saw at least one alligator.
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
What we found interesting is that much of I-10 is elevated, as in one long bridge.
If you start on I-55 just south of Ponchatoula, LA, continue south to I-10, take the ramp to I-10 eastbound, continue east to I-310, and then take I-310 south for the next 5 miles, that is the longest continuous stretch of elevated highway in the world, totaling 38.1 miles from the time you leave ground level until you return to ground level.

It's not in the Guinness Book of World Records only because it is actually composed of interconnected sections of three different highways and so is not considered one single bridge.

But back on-topic, the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles isn't unsafe enough to be taken out of service, but any structural engineer who looks at the whole bridge and not just the roadway would be scared to spitless by it.

Historical note, Napoleon Bonaparte had the best bridge engineers in the world. Before he would send his cannons across any bridge, one of his engineers had to certify the bridge by positioning himself underneath of it. Those engineers that survived learned to be very, very good at determining if a bridge was strong enough to bear the weight.
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Old 01-28-2018, 07:55 PM   #27
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Lake Charles I-10 Bridge Danger

Bridge ratings cover far more than just structural concerns. Obsolete design factors, such as lane widths, no shoulders, designed capacity versus actual traffic volume, ramp proximity to the bridge, all contribute. The bridge in question is an early, outdated design, grandfathered in as interstate highway standards have improved over the decades. It may even predate the interstate system. A rating this low means all of these factors are beyond that original design, but does not necessarily mean collapse is imminent. It does mean more frequent inspections to find and repair defects before they cause collapse. More frequent inspections mean more lane closures, tying up more traffic.
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Old 01-29-2018, 06:11 AM   #28
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Bridge ratings cover far more than just structural concerns. Obsolete design factors, such as lane widths, no shoulders, designed capacity versus actual traffic volume, ramp proximity to the bridge, all contribute.
This is all true. And the bridge DOES predate the Interstate highway system. Construction was started in 1940 (!), it was dedicated in 1951 as the WWII Memorial Bridge, and it went into service in 1952 as part of US-90. Interesting tidbit, way back when it was first grandfathered into the Interstate Highway System during the Eisenhower administration, the US Department of Transportation had already promised to replace the bridge as a condition of taking it over.

Tired of waiting over 40 years for the Federal Government to make good on its promise to replace the bridge, LA-DOTD commissioned a study in 1999 (when the bridge had an overall NBI rating of "4" and a structural sufficiency rating of 40.5%— the drop from 40.5% to 9.9% all happened in the last 20 years, partly due to hurricane Rita in 2005). The study was completed in 2002 and said the cost to replace the bridge would be $450 million. If Hurricane Rita had been just a tiny bit more destructive, the bridge would have been replaced already same as other bridges destroyed by hurricanes father east on the Gulf Coast. But Rita spared the bridge, and it has entered advanced decrepitude at an ever-increasing rate.

The bridge has a sufficiency rating of 9.9% based on present usage versus design according to the US Department of Transportation, and it has an overall rating of 3 on the Federal Highway Administration's National Bridge Inventory, which classifies the bridge as "Structurally Deficient."* It had an overall NBI rating of "4" way back in 1992— with a structural sufficiency rating of 50%— and has only gotten worse since then. However, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has declared the bridge to be "Safe" using their own standards— which tacitly means "We can't afford to replace it until it falls down so we'll keep slapping Band-Aids on it until then." A whopping 29% (!) of the 13,050 bridges in Louisiana have an NBI rating between "2" and "4" so I put very little faith in the LA-DOTD standards.

*The NBI classifies every bridge on a Federal highway on a scale of 0 to 9.
"0" means closed to all traffic.
"1" is not used.
"2" means obsolete and needs to be replaced.
"3" means structurally deficient and needs major repairs.
"4" is the lowest rating that allows a bridge to be left in place "as-is" though it requires an aggressive routine maintenance program.
"6" is the lowest rating that meets minimum allowable design criteria.
"8" means that it meets all present desirable design criteria.
"9" means that it exceeds present desirable design criteria.
For the Calcasieu River Bridge, superstructure is rated "3," substructure (foundation) is rated "3", and roadway surface is rated "4," for an overall rating of "3" (averages are all rounded down in NBI).

For comparison, the I-35W Bridge that collapsed in 2007 has a structural sufficiency rating of 50% right up until the time of its collapse, and an NBI rating of "7." A bridge's structural sufficiency doesn't drop all the way to 0% until the moment of its collapse, because any bridge that is still standing has a structural sufficiency of at least 1%. So the I-35W bridge went from structural sufficiency 50% and NBI rating "7" to structural sufficiency 0% and an NBI rating of "0" in less than a minute when it fell.

By the way, the National Bridge Inventory considers the Calcasieu River Bridge to be the 7th worst bridge in the United States that hasn't yet been closed to traffic.

Over 50,000 vehicles per day cross the Lake Charles Bridge without problems other than slowdowns and fender-benders. Mine won't be one of them. Y'all make up your own minds.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:34 AM   #29
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"IF", everyone starts using the I 210 bypass and not using I 10 than the usage on I 10 will decrease. Could that mean the replacement would be "put on back burner" due to the usage?
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:40 AM   #30
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"IF", everyone starts using the I 210 bypass and not using I 10 than the usage on I 10 will decrease. Could that mean the replacement would be "put on back burner" due to the usage?
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Replacement has been on the back burner since the late 1950s. If it goes any farther back, it will fall off behind the stove!

But usage won't really decrease. 50,000 vehicles per day is all the bridge can handle (it's pretty much bumper-to-bumper 24/7 as-is), and a lot of traffic diverts now rather than face delays, not because of the bridge's condition. If other traffic diverts to I-210 because of the bridge's condition, some of the traffic presently diverting to I-210 for other reasons will go back to I-10. Resulting in no change.
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