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Lafayette Bridge

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

 

Owner:  Minnesota Department of Transportation

Completion Date:  2015

Cost:  $260M

 

                 

Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest and costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, made landfall on August 29, 2005, devastating the Gulf Coast. The U.S. 90 Bridge over Biloxi Bay—connecting the communities of Biloxi and Ocean Springs, Mississippi—was one of many major highway and railroad bridges knocked out of service due to extensive storm damage.

 

The eye of the storm passed 60 miles west of Biloxi. Peak wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour, a peak storm surge height of 22 feet, and waves of up to 8 feet roared through the bay. Overall, spans that had a soffit elevation of 23 feet or less were badly damaged, and many of the low-level superstructure units were thrown off of the pile caps and into the water—some of the units were even flipped upside down.

 

The new bridge consists of dual structures, each carrying three lanes of traffic. The eastbound bridge also has a 12-foot shared use path. The total width is 129 feet. Aesthetics were an important consideration in the design development. Because of the adjacent communities’ desire for an attractive structure, the fascia girders are colored blue-green using a concrete coating, and the formed concrete surfaces of the superstructures and substructures are colored antique ivory. The pedestrian railing along the shared use path is an ornamental aluminum picket railing. In addition, three overlooks are spaced along the path with a bench located at each. The outside traffic barriers are an open concrete barrier rather than the traditional, solid New Jersey configuration. At night, the bridge is illuminated with a string of ornamental necklace lights attached to the fascia girders and edge accent lights on the piers.