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Sunshine Bridge expected to remain closed for months, extensive damage

Posted: 4:30 PM, Oct 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-15 18:05:00-04

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development reports that after inspections of the Sunshine Bridge, it’s possible the closure could last for months.

A report states that inspections of the Sunshine Bridge/LA 70 concluded that key load-carrying components of the bridge suffered significant damage after a crane on a barge collided with the southwest portion of the bridge on Friday. Permanent repairs to the bridge are necessary prior to reopening it to traffic.

The Department says that it continuing to find damage to the structure.

DOTD says that bridge engineers are in the process of finalizing a design to execute the repairs. Once that design is finalized, successfully modeled and we have a better idea of what resources are needed and available, an estimated timeline for the repair project will be released.

“At this point, the potential timeline is believed to be months rather than days,” a release states.

“The damage is to key members of the bridge and has rendered it unsafe to traffic,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “While we have identified a contractor and are moving forward with expediting this work, it is important to know there is not an easy fix for this kind of damage. There is no temporary fix that will allow us to safely open the bridge.”

During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional Plaquemine ferry service hours will be:

  • Monday through Friday, a second boat will run from 5:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 7p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, the first boat will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, the second boat will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

When two ferries are in operation, they are scheduled to depart every 15 minutes. When there is only one, it leaves every 30 minutes (departs Plaquemine at :00 and :30, Sunshine at :15 and :45).

Motorists are also encouraged to use the Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate river crossing.

Read more on the cause of the damage here