Around Acadiana

May 6, 2014 7:22 PM by Akeam Ashford

DOTD To Inspect Basin Bridge For Damage

Crews from the Department of Transportation (DOTD) will inspect the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge later this week, after finding damage caused by Friday's fiery tractor trailer pileup.

State Police have said two people were killed when the driver of one of the big rigs failed to slow down in traffic.

That 18-wheeler slammed into the back of another truck, causing a chain reaction crash involving four big rigs, shutting the highway down for more than 12 hours.

In photos taken after one of the trucks burned for hours, it shows black soot covering the bridge.

"That's actually a good sign. That means we didn't get high intense heat. If you see a white soot, then you know you may have had some severe damage," DOTD Maintenance Engineer David Miller said.

Miller said the bridge's structural supports are strong.

In last weekend's initial inspection of the bridge, Miller said the thing he saw that needed to be replaced were the railings where one of the tractor trailers hit and then tipped over.

"We probably won't be replacing anything other than the section of barrier rail where the trucks actually hit. There's nothing underneath I'm expecting that we'll have to replace," Miller said.

Miller said crews will not only look at the top of the bridge on Thursday, but also the structural supports under water for damage.

"The bridge did get damaged, but in order to repair the bridge we have to get up there and get a little closer and see exactly what's damaged so that we can get it repaired," Miller said.

State Police said the right lane of Interstate 10 East near Whiskey Bay will close at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

The inspection is expected to last until noon.

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