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As much as $5M needed to repair Sunshine Bridge; timeline remains unknown

Contractor Coastal Bridge is mobilizing to be on-site this weekend at the Sunshine Bridge, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced.

Coastal Bridge will barge materials and a crane to the site to begin building the platform needed to start repairs under the bridge. The bridge was hit by a crane on a barge Oct. 12 and has been closed since then due to safety reasons.

Engineers are finalizing a design and plans for repairs.

Once the design and plans are finalized, a timeframe will be announced.

Inspections of the bridge concluded that key load-carrying components of the bridge suffered significant damage after a crane collided with the southwest portion of the bridge. Because of the extensive damage, permanent repairs to the bridge are necessary prior to reopening it to vehicular traffic.

DOTD is authorized to spend up to $5 million in repair costs.
“This is an extremely complex repair and the planning and design phase is crucial to ensure the work is done correctly, safely and is the best use of state taxpayer money,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson.

“Unfortunately, the bridge must remain closed until repairs are made and inspections indicate that it’s safe for use. We recommend that commuters plan for congestion and, and we encourage drivers to join the Commuter Krewe of Louisiana for carpooling.”

Wilson said area industries and businesses are encouraged to adjust employee work schedules as needed to minimize the number of vehicles on the road during peak hours.

“We certainly appreciate the efforts of Ascension Parish for adjusting school times, and first responders for implementing various plans to address emergency needs,” Wilson said.

The Commuter Krewe website offers a ride-matching database to help commuters find others who live and work nearby to share rides. Go to commuterkrewe.la/ and sign up.
DOTD is pursuing a claim with the company responsible for the bridge damage to seek reimbursement for the cost of repairs.

The department has been hosting calls with elected officials, law enforcement agencies, and various groups that frequently use the bridge, such as farmers and the industrial trucking community. DOTD is also providing guidance to area law enforcement agencies for reimbursement of costs associated with unplanned expenditures related to the bridge closure.

Additionally, in order to ease traffic congestion caused by the bridge closure, DOTD is implementing new signal-timing sequences at several intersections. Technicians are on-site at these intersections to monitor congestion and will operate the signal manually if the new timings are not sufficiently moving traffic. These intersections are LA 3127/LA 20, LA 3125/LA 3213, LA 3125/LA 3274 and US 61/LA 641.

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