Weigh station open on I-10

By Steven K. Landry

BREAUX BRIDGE – Two weeks ago, after an unexpectedly lengthy 15-month temporary closure, the Interstate 10 westbound weigh station between Lafayette Parish and Breaux Bridge along Interstate 10 reopened.

The approximately $200,000 repair job combined some contract work and state monies, said engineer David Huval, of Cecilia.

Huval said Lafayette-based CEC, Inc., was the main contractor. The station – which is directly across from the eastbound station along I-10 – had been shut down since August 2007. Besides some approach work, the station required major repairs to its static, or permanent, underground-based scale, said Bill Fontenot of the Department of Transportation and Development.

Huval said Monday from his CEC offices that the firm went in to repair the approach slab and the walls leading to the underground portion of the system. “The department themselves handled the steel frame and the weigh-in part of the job,” he said. “Our part of it was more to the tune of $120,000.”

Late in 2007, the state closed the station located near mile-marker 108. Soon after, workers ripped up the concrete to investigate the scale’s underground components. Fontenot had originally predicted an early-2008 reopening, but “there was some debate as to how much of the pit to rebuild and it took a while to make those decisions.”

Bidding takes time, Fontenot said, because of state-law timetables and the decision to redesign some of the fractured underground pit’s walls and works.

Huval said it’s not the first time the station saw repair work, as in the mid-1990s CEC repaired both eastbound and westbound stations. The state later added several buildings. But this time, the westbound station shut down completely and CEC got the bid.

“This is a double-weigh-unit system,” Huval explained, “which weighs the front axles and the rear axles. It’s a big scale. These 18-wheelers come in and sometimes there’s a tremendous amount of traffic. The problem was created when the approach slab broke and that subsequently broke the vertical wall that held this approach slab in place. What was done this time was to remove that – the old approach slab and the vertical wall – and completely replace that whole system to make it more solid. We added at least 20 cubic yards of concrete.”

These days, however, truckers are not required to use the weigh stations as often because of new “weigh-in-motion” technology. Electronic-sensing devices below the pavement now allow trucks to be weighed in advance of the physical weigh stations. Once a trucker is deemed legal, he or she is not required to pull in to the stations.

Still, this particular repair project was needed, Fontenot said, because “the scale here is at an important strategic location just to the east of I-49 at I-10.”

“It (the repair job) was a little bit more time-consuming than we expected,” said Huval, a former Baton Rouge-based, 12-year DOTD employee who moved back to this area in 1978. “But it did work out very well and it’s open now.”

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