Sunshine Bridge Partially Reopens As Repair Work Continues

Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) partially reopened the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi River December 1, with one lane open in each direction while repairs continue. The bridge was damaged October 12 when a barge-mounted A-frame crane being pushed upriver allided with the bridge. A total closure of the bridge lasted from October 12 through the end of November.

“This partial opening will provide some relief to the families and businesses of the river region,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “It is a significant milestone in the full restoration of the Sunshine Bridge. I appreciate the DOTD, consultants, contractors and sheriffs for their aggressive approach, including 24-hour work on the repair and extended traffic control services.”

Work continues on replacing a load-bearing chord and a portion of a beam damaged in the incident. Lanes opened thus far are restricted to a width of 11 feet, and loads are limited to 80,000 pounds. A speed limit of 45 mph. is in place for vehicles crossing the bridge.

According to the state’s DOTD, the bridge will remain open for the rest of the repair effort, except for an anticipated weekend-long closure for installing new bracing.

The state continues to operate two ferries at the Plaquemine ferry.