ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has released their latest update on repairs to the Sunshine Bridge.
Jacks, hoses, and power units for the three jacks are on site at the bridge, officials say, while other jacking components are still arriving and scheduled to be installed by the weekend. Fabrication of the replacement chord began recently and is anticipated to be completed in the middle of the week of November 12. DOTD says the subcontractor for the heat straightening of the steel, Dan R. Dalton, Inc., is scheduled to be on site Friday, November 9 to evaluate needs.
DOTD says the actual jacking of the bridge to relieve the damaged chord should take place sometime in mid to late November. At that time, crews will heat straighten the remaining chord and install a replacement.
“We’re pleased to announce this latest update on the Sunshine Bridge repairs. Crews continue to work around the clock to ensure that the structure will be repaired as quickly and safely as possible. Everyone involved knows the importance of having this bridge repaired safely and in a timely fashion. As of now, we are on pace to have the bridge reopened in January,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D.
Once repairs are complete, the bridge will be thoroughly inspected before being reopened to traffic.
DOTD has met with senior leadership at Marquette Transportation, the company that owns the barge that struck the bridge, to discuss the incident and plans for ongoing repairs.
“Marquette recognizes that the closure of the Sunshine Bridge has created a significant disruption for Louisiana citizens that travel the LA 70 route daily. We value our deep connections in Louisiana and apologize for the inconvenience the closure has created,” said president of Marquette, Damon Judd.
Commuters are encourage to utilize the Commuter Krewe website to find other commuters with which to share rides. Commuter Krewe is a joint effort between DOTD and the Capital Area Planning Commission.
The schedule for the Plaqeumine ferry has also been adjusted to accommodate commuters during the bridge closure. The schedule is as follows:
- 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 running, they will depart every 15 minutes. When there is only one, it will leave every 30 minutes.
Veterans Memorial Bridge can also be used as an alternate river crossing.