Repairs to the Sunshine Bridge are expected to be completed in early March, but the Mississippi River span won’t fully reopen until August, as crews will continue working on the structure for a different, previously planned maintenance project.
Before the Sunshine Bridge was damaged last fall, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development had already scheduled maintenance work for the bridge around this time, says spokesman Rodney Mallett. So work crews on site will begin that project once they finish repairing the damage in March.
The two eastbound lanes of the bridge will open in early April, but the westbound side will open only one lane while the maintenance project progresses, Mallett says.
“This would mean that out of the four lanes, only one will be closed for the remaining project work,” he adds.
The emergency repair work has been ongoing since a crane-carrying barge struck the Sunshine Bridge Oct. 12, shutting it down completely for nearly two months. The bridge partially reopened, with one lane in each direction, on Dec. 1.
The planned maintenance work will include “the replacement of finger joints and repairs to the superstructure,” Mallett says, requiring only a single lane closure. He adds the project is regular rehab work that DOTD does on all state bridges at some point to extend the life the structures.