ST. JAMES PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) – A crack discovered on the Sunshine Bridge during a routine inspection will force the bridge to close this weekend for repairs.

The damage was discovered by the Department of Transportation Development (DOTD) while they performed an inspection that they are required to do every two years. Out of an abundance of caution, the DOTD closed the westbound right lane on the Sunshine Bridge (LA 70) in St. James Parish.

A full closure will begin Saturday, Aug. 27 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m.

“This is a perfect example of why we inspect our bridges on a regular basis,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “The safety of the traveling public is the department’s No. 1 goal. Lane closures for bridge inspections and closing bridges entirely because of safety reasons can be an inconvenience, I know, but it beats the alternative of having people driving in unsafe conditions.”

Oversized vehicles or permit loads are prohibited from crossing the bridge until repairs are complete.

“We are going to monitor that on a regular basis and if it is deemed unsafe for regular vehicle traffic then we will certainly close that bridge,” said DOTD Communications Director Rodney Mallett.

Mallett said the repair itself shouldn’t take long too, but construction could be delayed while crews wait for the certified steel to be shipped.

“Our number one concern, we understand that this is a very busy industrial corridor and some of our permitted loads are going to be inconvenienced during this time,” said Mallett.

For real-time traffic updates and road conditioning, dial 511 or visit 511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).