Today the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced the latest update on the repair of the Sunshine Bridge. Since the westbound side of the bridge was opened for two-way traffic on December 1, crews have been working below the bridge deck repairing cracked welds, replacing damaged bolts, and preparing to replace diagonal bracing affected by the impact on October 12.
Some of these repairs are still ongoing and the fabrication of the new diagonal bracing is complete. Remaining work includes the painting/installation of the diagonal bracing and the installation of gusset plates, which are thick pieces of steel that connect various structural members. Although the emergency repairs associated with the October 12 barge hit are anticipated to conclude in late January or early February, periodic lane closures will continue as previously scheduled contract repair work is performed.
“With the start of a new year, we’re eager to get the emergency repairs completed so we can move forward on the previously planned project that will make this bridge safer and will extend its life,” DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. said. “Crews have been working hard and we’ve made significant progress, but we can’t rush the remaining repairs.”
The painting of the new diagonal bracing is anticipated to be complete this week with the installation to occur the weekend of January 19 and 20. During this installation, the bridge will need to be completely closed to traffic for the safety of construction crews and the traveling public. Once the bracing installation is complete, touch-ups and repairs to the bridge painting will take place and will likely be complete in early February.
During the remaining time before the bridge completely reopens, commuters are reminded to take advantage of Commuter Krewe. Motorists may also use the Plaquemine ferry and Veterans Memorial Bridge as detours to cross the river.