Crews have finished repairing the damage at the River Center library branch that caused a scare this week, but as they made those fixes they discovered new issues, the mayor's office said.
Despite initial concerns Wednesday night that the library may have settled — or partially sunken into the ground — architects and engineers found that the problem was with two welded joints that had separated.
The broken welds have been fixed, but they did more damage than architects and engineers initially thought, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's office said late Friday afternoon citing a statement from the library's architects. The city-parish did not explain the damage, and the architects did not return calls seeking comment.
Teams have to make those repairs before the building can be reopened for other workers. It also means the east-bound lane of North Boulevard remains closed. No timeline was given to reopen it, according to the city-parish news release.
Before the announcement, officials were hopeful for a return to normalcy on Friday, and the day was certainly not as tense or filled with caution tape as the two before.
Workers had returned to their evacuated buildings, most roads had reopened and Friday's Live After Five concert had returned to Galvez Plaza right next to the under-construction branch library.
Architects, engineers and city-parish officials blamed “two compromised steel connections” Thursday for a scare this week about the stability …
"The city-parish is all up and going," Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel said earlier on Friday.
North Street businesses were still playing catch-up, though. Inside Sadaf's Cafe, general manager Sam Liotta was loading raw chicken onto a spit at 11 a.m. He said he hoped to sell a lot of shawarma on the last lunch of the week while the meat was still fresh after the restaurant was forced to close Thursday due to the evacuation and he lost a meal service.
Inspectors didn't see "more movement" Thursday morning as they examined the library building going up in downtown Baton Rouge, a positive sign…
Meanwhile, head librarian Spencer Watts said he expects a detailed analysis of the construction problem by next week and said it would be released to the public. The city-parish said the new repair work should not delay that report, which was announced when the welding problem was discovered
Building construction, which started more than a year ago, is expected to last through August or September, Watts said. It will take a few more months to go through the punch list and bring in electronics, furniture and, of course, books. That means the River Center branch could open by the end of the year, or at least by early 2019, Watts said.