EUNICE, La. (KLFY) – DOTD bridge inspectors were in Acadia Parish last week inspecting three bridges on Perchville Road.
The hammer is an important tool for the inspectors.
“The hammers are used to sound the timber members so that we can determine if there are internal defects,” explained Jerry Begnaud, the DOTD bridge engineer for the Lafayette district.
Begnaud said crews do a complete safety inspection of the bridge foundation, substructure, deck and rails. Inspectors write up their findings which will be sent back and reviewed by DOTD engineers.
“The only real determination we make in the field is whether or not it should be closed immediately,” Begnaud.
And that does happen. The DOTD ordered the Surrey Street Bridge in Lafayette closed last October because one of the bearings was fractured.
There are three DOTD bridge inspection teams in this district. They are out inspecting bridges just about every day. They’re responsible for 1,800 bridges in eight parishes – 1,000 state bridges and 800 local ones.
The DOTD inspects every bridge at least once every two years. Some bridges are inspected every year and others every six months.
“If we see something that we think a bridge could possibly fail we’re going to require a closure of the bridge and that’s immediate closure. There’s no notice on it,” said Bill Oliver, DOTD District Administrator.
Once the DOTD completes the bridge inspection report the findings are sent to the local government. Any defects or problems must be addressed in a timely manner.
It’s important to note: local and parish governments also do their own bridge inspections.
The DOTD inspections are done to make sure that nothing was missed and that the local inspections were done properly.