Sunshine Bridge down to two lanes for next two years

Both directions of traffic on the Sunshine Bridge have been consolidated to the westbound side of the Mississippi River crossing in St. James Parish.

The switch, which moves traffic completely to the upriver side of the bridge, is expected to remain in place for two years as contractors rehabilitate and repaint the bridge, said Michael Ricca, project engineer with Gulf Engineers and Consultants Inc.

GEC is the consulting project engineer on the $25.1 million state Department of Transportation and Development project. Crews with North Star Painting Co. are repairing and repainting support trusses on the metal cantilever bridge.

The change, announced earlier this month, took effect Wednesday, said Dustin Annison, DOTD spokesman.

Work began in early February, and the bridge has been limited to one lane on either side of the bridge for several weeks as crews set up rigging and completed other preparations.

Ricca said DOTD will be monitoring traffic flow, in particular during the $2.1 billion CF Industries expansion, and working to minimize congestion.

Vehicles involved in crashes on the bridge that are still drivable must be moved out of traffic lanes. Arrangements are being made to speed up wrecker service for vehicles that cannot be moved, Ricca said.