La.’s Sunshine Bridge closed after being struck by barge

Updated Nov 7, 2018
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The Sunshine Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River near Donaldson, Louisiana, was closed by the Louisiana State Police early in the morning, October 12, after a barge carrying a crane hit the side of the structure, causing some damage to the bridge, WAFB reported. The barge was reportedly stuck under the bridge for four hours.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) released an update on the bridge’s condition on October 15, stating they continued to find damage and that the bridge will remain closed until repairs can be made.

They said that once engineers have determined what needs to be done, they will release an estimate of how long the repairs will take, but that the closure may last for months.

“The damage is to key members of the bridge and has rendered it unsafe to traffic,” said DOTD secretary Shawn Wilson, according to the news agency. “While we have identified a contractor and are moving forward with expediting this work, it is important to know there is not an easy fix for this kind of damage. There is no temporary fix that will allow us to safely open the bridge.

“Our hope was to be able to use a portion of the bridge for traffic while emergency repairs were being made, however, that is not the case,” Wilson continued. “We will be working on plans to make the repairs as quickly as possible and will develop a timeline for when the work will be completed. I know this is an inconvenience for the more than 25,000 travelers who use this bridge, but it is not safe to open it to traffic at this time. The department has worked closely with legislators and local officials to update them on the situation and to try to minimize impacts as much as possible.”