DOTD: Bridges don't meet federal guidelines - KLFY News 10

DOTD: Bridges don't meet federal guidelines

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Fourteen percent of Louisiana bridges do not meet federal guidelines. That includes 14 of the 312 bridges right here in Lafayette Parish. The federal highway administration has a list of 23 metrics guidelines that must be met in order for a bridge to pass inspection.

"DOTD is either compliant, conditionally compliant or substantially compliant with all 23 of the FHWA metrics. It's actually good to point out that there was not a single metric where we had a noncompliance rating" said Deidra Druilhet, Public Information Officer with the Department of Transportation and Development.

It's the inspection process that fell short of federal guidelines, and the DOTD has already put a plan in motion to strengthen the bridge inspection program. Druilhet says we've actually added additional personnel to every single district and that allows us to increase the capacity of a bridge inspection by a capacity of 25 to a little over 30 percent to make sure that we are meeting all those metrics that are provided by the FHWA.

Most bridges in the parish were built nearly a half of century ago, something as simple as the design may cause a bridge to be labeled structurally deficient.

"Of course those bridges that were built and then they were built for the amount of traffic that we had back then" says Druilhet. So, when we hear that the bridge is structurally deficient, there is no reason to panic. "That does not mean that the bridge is unsafe. A lot of times there is a repair that needs to be made on the bridge, there could be something like a joint that needs to be replaced."

The architectural differences mainly include the lanes and shoulders are much wider to handle the growth in traffic and the increase size of vehicles traveling our roadways.

DOTD inspects bridges every two years and sends Lafayette Consolidated Government a list of deficiencies, LCG re-inspects the bridges and either repairs them or keeps an eye on them for changes.

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