Construction to fix Sunshine Bridge safety concerns

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Sunshine Bridge has been the subject of many questions pertaining to the bridge's construction.

The bridge is structurally deficient, and the Department of Transportation and Development is working to fix that

Ascension Parish Chief Administrative Officer Ken Dawson says they need more employees on the west side of the growing parish. A big issue is a lot of those workers come from places where they usually need to cross the bridge during the busiest times of day in order to get to work

The Sunshine Bridge is a structurally deficient bridge, meaning it needs repairs but is not in danger of collapsing.

"The steel structure underneath the bridge that supports the deck this shows the corrosion that is taking place since the bridge has been there," says Dawson.

The bridge has several places where rust has taken over since the bridge was built in the 1960s. Crews are also replacing missing nuts and bolts, and giving the bridge a brand new paint job to increase the longevity of the bridge. This project started last year and was originally slated to wrap up by the end of 2015, but that has now been pushed further.

"Just as they get up there and start looking at the bridge," says Dawson, "there are other things to address to extend the life of the bridge."

The bridge is down from four lanes to two lanes so crews can have room to work, which causes major traffic issues, especially during rush hour. It's why DOTD has worked with area businesses to ask for a shift change and more police to manage traffic Until the entire project is complete, officials say the bridge will remain down to two lanes.

The Department of Transportation expects to wrap up this project by the beginning of 2016.

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