Frustrated motorists were able to breathe a sigh of relief last week as all four lanes of the Sunshine Bridge opened to traffic.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced December 7 that the $25.1 million Sunshine Bridge project in St. James Parish is complete, and all lanes are open to traffic.
The project involved cleaning, painting and performing structural repairs to the main spans of the Sunshine Bridge on LA 70. The bridge is used daily by approximately 22,000 motorists.
The project was scheduled to be completed by spring 2016. However, all four lanes were opened to motorists in mid-November, and the final restriping completed Friday. One reason the project was completed early was because the contractor was able to utilize additional work crews and equipment, which accelerated the painting process.
“This project was important because it completed the required major maintenance and preservation of this significant structure which crosses the Mississippi River,” said Aaron Elisar, area engineer for Ascension, Assumption, Iberville and St. James parishes.
“The Sunshine Bridge was built in the early 1960s, and as with all large steel structures, it requires periodic painting and maintenance to ensure that the structure can provide a long service life. This bridge serves as a vital link between East and West St. James and Ascension parishes as well as numerous refineries and chemical plants in the surrounding area,” he added.
Work on this project began in February 2014, as the second phase of the bridge rehabilitation project. The first phase of the project, which started in April 2012, included cleaning, painting and structural rehabilitation of the approach spans of the bridge. Work on that $6.2 million project finished in February 2014.