24-hour work schedule needed for Sunshine Bridge repair; estimated completion in January

Published 3:07 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced today (Nov. 2) that jacking system components needed to make repairs to the Sunshine Bridge on La. 70 are being fabricated and are expected to arrive at the site early next week.

The installation process will start early next week. The jacking system will be used to realign the bridge into its original position and to allow installation of a replacement chord, which is one of the main load-carrying members of the bridge.

The bridge was struck on Oct. 12 by a crane on a barge, which caused extensive damage and led to a total bridge closure.

The actual jacking of the bridge to relieve the damaged chord is expected to take place from mid- to late-November. During this time, crews will heat straighten the remaining chord and install a replacement chord.

“With repairs to the Sunshine Bridge well underway, we’re looking forward to keeping the momentum moving forward,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “We have plenty of work to do and all parties involved are working to expedite the repairs. Crews of about 10 people are working 24 hours a day on the bridge, and they’re doing a tremendous job to ensure the structure is repaired safely and as quickly as possible.”

The primary platform to access the damaged chord is complete, and other access platforms under the bridge’s deck will be constructed this weekend. Work crews have procured the steel for jacking beams while steel for the replacement chord is currently being obtained. Additionally, the rivet replacement and preparation work to install the jacking system is almost complete.

At this time, repairs are estimated to be complete in January 2019. Once repairs are complete, DOTD will give the bridge a thorough inspection to ensure that it’s safe for the traveling public.

Commuters are reminded to take advantage of Commuter Krewe. The Commuter Krewe website offers a ride-matching database to help commuters find others who live and work nearby to share rides. Go to https://www.commuterkrewe.la/ and sign up. Commuter Krewe is a joint effort of DOTD and the Capital Region Planning Commission. Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CommuterKrewe/

DOTD has also adjusted the Plaquemine ferry schedule. During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional ferry service hours will be

  • Monday through Friday, the first boat will run from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday, the second boat will run from 5:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.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.