“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 repairs safely and in a timely fashion. As of now, we are on pace to have the bridge re-opened in January.”

Today the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced the latest update on the repair of the Sunshine Bridge. Jacks, hoses, and power units for the three jacks are on site, while other jacking components are currently arriving and scheduled to be installed by this weekend. Fabrication of the replacement chord began last weekend and is anticipated to be complete around the middle of next week. The subcontractor for the heat straightening of the steel, Dan R. Dalton, Inc., is scheduled to be on site Friday to evaluate needs.

The actual jacking of the bridge to relieve the damaged chord is expected to take place from mid- to late-November. During this time, crews will heat straighten the remaining chord and install a replacement chord.

“We’re pleased to announce this latest update on the Sunshine Bridge repairs,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “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 repairs safely and in a timely fashion. As of now, we are on pace to have the bridge re-opened in January.”

The primary platform to access the damaged chord is complete, and the replacement of damaged rivets has been completed.

At this time, repairs are estimated to be complete in January 2019. Once repairs are complete, DOTD will give the bridge a thorough inspection to ensure that it’s safe for the traveling public.

Last week, Secretary Wilson and members of his team met with the senior leadership of Marquette Transportation, including its CEO and president, to discuss the incident that caused the damage to the Sunshine Bridge and the status and plans for the ongoing repairs required to safely re-open the bridge.

Dr. Wilson and Marquette CEO John Eckstein confirmed that the safe reopening of the Sunshine Bridge is the single most important goal for both organizations. DOTD and Marquette committed to working constructively together to achieve this goal as soon as practicable.

“Marquette recognizes that the closure of the Sunshine Bridge has created a significant disruption for Louisiana citizens that travel the La. 70 route daily,” said Marquette’s President Damon Judd. “We value our deep connections in Louisiana and apologize for the inconvenience the closure has created.”

While both parties had legal representatives at the meeting, DOTD and Marquette agreed to prioritize the safety and expediency of the repair process and to avoid undue legal posturing that would disrupt progress of the repair.

“We are committed and focused on completing the needed repairs,” Wilson said.

“We have instructed our engineers and experts to work with the DOTD team” added Mr. Judd.

Commuters are reminded to take advantage of Commuter Krewe. The Commuter Krewe website offers a ride-matching database to help commuters find others who live and work nearby to share rides. Go to https://www.commuterkrewe.la/ and sign up. Commuter Krewe is a joint effort of DOTD and the Capital Region Planning Commission. Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CommuterKrewe/

DOTD has also adjusted the Plaquemine ferry schedule. During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional ferry service hours will be

---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 in operation, they are scheduled to depart every 15 minutes. When there is only one, it leaves every 30 minutes (departs Plaquemine at :00 and :30, Sunshine at :15 and :45).

Motorists are also encouraged to use the Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate river crossing.

Call 511 or visit 511la.org for additional travel information. Out-of-state travelers may call 1-800-ROAD-511 (1-800-762-3511). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at http://www.dotd.la.gov/, by selecting MYDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.

Contributed by DOTD