Figure 1 is an aerial view of the west abutment and westernmost piers of the bridge that carried US 90 over St. Louis Bay. The view faces southeast. All of the approach pavement was undermined and the approach slab was broken up and strewn to the north. Much of the abutment fill was lost in the storm, even though it was protected by a breaker wall. Note that the two halves of the superstructure’s first span have been moved over 100 feet to the north (toward the bottom left of the photo). The right half (if looking at the bridge as it was from the abutment) landed closest to the original position, though turned 90 degrees. The left half was carried further and flipped upside down by the high water of the storm surge and wind.
Figure 2 is a close up, looking north at the right half (south side) of the westernmost span. The prefabricated unit rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise from its original position, leaving the yellow centerline stripe visible on the near edge and the metal railing sticking out of the water on the far side of the photo. The bridge consists of “tee-beam” girders with an integral concrete deck. Aside from being in the wrong place, the unit appeared to be structurally intact.
Figure 3 is a close up, looking north at the left half (north side) of the westernmost span. The prefabricated unit lays upside down in the water with the left side of the photo showing the concrete backwall attached to the abutment end of the span. The bridge has “tee-beam” girders with an integral concrete deck. A bearing plate remains attached at the end of each beam.
Submitted by Jerome O'Connor
September 11, 2005