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Mississippi River barge traffic passes under the Sunshine Bridge Friday, May 3, 2019. The state Department of Transportation and Development is repairing the approaches to the bridge after finishing emergency repairs in mid-March from a barge crash last year. 

DONALDSONVILLE — The Sunshine Bridge will be down to one lane in both directions Thursday as workers repair the Mississippi River bridge's approaches, state highway officials said Monday.

The westbound side of the four-lane bridge has already been down to one lane due to the repair project but highway officials said the eastbound side of the bridge will also be down to one lane 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. 

Crews will fix the finger joints of the bridge approaches, the parts of the bridge that rise over land and lead up to the large metal superstructure over the Mississippi, state Department of Transportation and Development officials said.

The approach repair job started after DOTD contractors finished emergency repairs to the bridge's main span in mid-March following a barge crash in October. The emergency repairs shut the bridge for 1½ months and delayed the previously planned approach repairs.

DOTD officials said recently that the barge crash, on paper, should have caused the steel bridge to collapse but it didn't fail because other parts to the bridge bore the stress of the bridge after a key section was bent. 

During the closure Thursday, the single lane open on the westbound side will be restricted to a 10-foot lane width.


Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.