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A pushboat with barges under its control rides down the Mississippi River and under the Sunshine Bridge in St. James Parish on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The extended boom of a crane barge being moved up the river Oct. 12 hit the bridge more than 100 feet in the air.

DONALDSONVILLE — Drivers headed west on the Sunshine Bridge late Tuesday and early Wednesday will encounter intermittent traffic closures as workers prepare for a new phase of repairs to the Mississippi River span.

State highway officials said the intermittent closures will last from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday as crews adjust concrete traffic barriers in the westbound lanes. 

Late last week, the state opened a third lane on the four-lane bridge after having kept traffic limited to two lanes since Dec. 1 while workers made emergency repairs. The bridge was hit by a crane barge Oct. 12.

The emergency repairs were finished last week, but the state Department of Transportation and Development has shifted immediately into a prior maintenance project delayed by the crash last year. 

While the emergency job involved shoring up and then repairing damage to the main span, the new maintenance work will affect the approach spans on either side of the river. 

That project, which is expected to last into the summer, will replace the finger joints of the approach spans, restore the approach girder splices and repair safety handrails, DOTD officials have said.

Since the emergency repairs were finished, DOTD officials have opened both eastbound lanes and one westbound lane. They are expected to remain open during the length of the latest project, DOTD officials said. 


Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.