October 15, 2018


Sunshine bridge damage extensive, remains closed

BATON ROUGE — Inspections of the Sunshine Bridge/LA 70 concluded that key load-carrying components of the bridge suffered significant damage after a crane on a barge collided with the southwest portion of the bridge on Friday. Because of the extensive damage, permanent repairs to the bridge are necessary prior to reopening it  to vehicular traffic.  The Department continues to find damage to the structure.
Bridge engineers are in the process of finalizing a design to execute the repairs. Once that design is finalized, successfully modeled and we have a better idea of what resources are needed and available, an estimated project timeline will be released.  However, the timeline is believed to be months rather than days.
“The damage is to key members of the bridge and has rendered it unsafe to traffic,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “While we have identified a contractor and are moving forward with expediting this work, it is important to know there is not an easy fix for this kind of damage. There is no temporary fix that will allow us to safely open the bridge.”
The Department will continue to work with local law enforcement and state police to mitigate and refine traffic patterns and detour routes.
During the duration of the Sunshine Bridge closure, additional ferry service hours will be:
Monday thru Friday, a second boat will run from 5:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. to 7p.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).
The possibility of reopening the White Castle ferry has been ruled out for several reasons.
There is a lengthy process to implement a new ferry route. River traffic falls under the authority of the US Coast Guard and any additional traffic would require their approval. Additionally, since we no longer have property access to the former landings at White Castle, we would be required to obtain access from landowners and permission to build on the levee by the Corps of Engineers.
Motorists are also encouraged to use the Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate river crossing.
Call 511 or visit 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, by selecting MYDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.

UPDATED: November 19, 2018

LA 44 Turn Lanes Construction

This project will make intersection improvements to the Hwy. 44 corridor at Hwy. 621, Hwy. 931, Hwy. 933, Hwy. 935 (Bayou Narcisse Road) and Merit Evans/ Cousey. The improvements will consist of dedicated left turn lanes with signals.

Project Start Date: July 23, 2018                               Anticipated Completion Date: March 7, 2019

Project Cost: $3,501,304.95                                       Contract Time: 120 Working Days


LA  30 & 74: Intersection Improvement

Adds left turn lanes.

Project Start Date: November 6, 2017                        Anticipated Completion Date: August 22, 2018

Project Cost: $1,957,141.19                                        Contract Time: 90 Working Days


LA 431 Realign Curve

They will be making some safety improvements.

Project Start Date: August 31, 2016                              Anticipated Completion Date: December 28, 2018

Project Cost: $1,491,410.85                                           Contract Time: 75 Working Days


LA 30: Ashland Rd. to Tanger Blvd.

Still awaiting acceptance of signal operation at Ashland Rd./ LA 30 still within the 60-day burn-in period.

Project Start Date: September 15, 2017                        Anticipated Completion Date: May 17, 2018

Project Cost: $123,157.50                                              Contract Time: 75 Working Days


US 61: US 61 Shoulder

Crews are working on shoulder rehabilitation.

Project Start Date: October 3, 2017                                 Anticipated Completion Date: July 31, 2018

Project Cost: $1,427,845.30                                              Contract Time: 65 Working Days


LA 70: Rehabilitation of Mississippi River Sunshine Bridge

Repairs to the underside of the Sunshine bridge. Some lanes may need to be closed to complete total rehabilitation at the beginning of the new year.

Project Start Date: September 17, 2018                            Anticipated Completion Date: November 5, 2019

Project Cost: $11,881,191.50                                             Contract Time: 400 Calendar Days


LA 431 at LA 934 Intersection Improvement

DOTD is working to improve traffic flow in this area, including adding turn lanes. They have finished clearing the area and are ready to begin work.

Project Start Date: October 18, 2018                                Anticipated Completion Date: December 18, 2018

Project Cost: $1,517,844.72                                              Contract Time: 60 Working Days


LA 3038 Cornerview: Rehab & Turn Lane

In the planning stages of putting asphalt overlay over asphalt pavement.

Project Start Date: September 27, 2018                             Anticipated Completion Date: December 18, 2018

Project Cost: $2,118,387.76                                                Contract Time: 75 Working Days




July 24, 2018

La. 621 @ U.S. 61 Construction Update

This project will create offset left turn lanes on US 61 (Airline Hwy.) at LA 621 in Ascension Parish.  These offset turn lanes allow drivers in the Airline Hwy. left turn lanes to be able to see around each other while waiting to turn left so that when the signal allows for a permissive left turn, the drivers can have a clear view of the potentially fast approaching vehicles on Airline Hwy. and make a good decision as to if they have an adequate gap to clear the intersection safely.  Also, this project will be installing dedicated left turn lanes on LA 621 on both the EB and WB approaches.  This will allow the left turners to have a designated location to wait until the signal gives them a protected arrow signal indication to turn onto Airline Hwy.  It also allows for vehicles wanting to travel on LA 621 through the intersection at US 61 with minimal delay.  DOTD feels that this project will be a great improvement to motorists safety and convenience at this intersection.


Project Description:  US 61:  Turn Lane Improvements @ LA 621            Parish: Ascension

Contract Time: 45 Working Days                Contractor:  Barriere Contraction Co., LLC              Phone: 504-581-7283

Project Start Date:  July 9, 2018                                  Anticipated Completion Date:  December 14, 2018

Project Cost:  $596,610.64                             Sitemanager:  Yes

Brief description of completed work:  Preconstruction Meeting 03/09/2018.

Notice of Contract Execution 02/08/2018.  Notice to Proceed April 12, 2018.

Current work:  Contractor to begin subsurface drainage work July 9th, but all lanes will remain open during the following times:

5:00 AM to 9:00 AM Monday thru Friday
2:00 PM to 7:00 PM Monday thru Friday

Map of 621/US 61 Project


May 4, 2018

Maurepas, Ama and Union Diversions

Here is the latest information on the Maurepas, Ama, and Union diversion projects from the Department of Transportation and Development.

PO-0029_Project Overview_20180326



September 5, 2017

Widening of La. 42 from 2 to 4 Lanes

The project to widen La. 42 began in 2014, and it continues today, with a multi-stage process that is scheduled to be complete in 2019. The contract for construction was awarded to Barber Brothers and has been let, with a required start date of November 24.

This segment of La. 42 serves more than 22,000 motorists daily. It is important to residents of Ascension Parish, as well as East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes, providing access to U.S. 61 (Airline Hwy.), I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and I-12 between Baton Rouge and Slidell.

Click here for more information on the project


April 25, 2017

History of Revenue Collection from the Gasoline Tax

The state has had a tax on gasoline and other fuels for several decades, a portion of which is dedicated to spending on roads and infrastructure construction and maintenance. The gasoline tax, as it is often called, has been adjusted a few times in its history as revenue collections have failed to keep pace with inflation (in construction costs, for example) and in revenue needs for infrastructure. The last increase in the gasoline tax took effect in the 1990-1991 Fiscal Year, when the gasoline tax was raised to 20 cents per gallon, where it remains today.

In the 2017 Regular Fiscal Session, the Legislature will consider raising the gas tax.

Click Here to See a History of Gas Tax Revenues Over Time.

March 23, 2017

The Department of Transportation and Development, after studying traffic patterns, accidents, and congestion, has determined that a traffic signal is warranted at the intersection of La. 74 and La. 928 (Bluff Road). Although no firm date was given in the letter I have posted here and made available for your viewing, DOTD intends to install a traffic signal “as soon as possible.”

DOTD Letter Regarding La. 74 and Bluff Road Intersection


September 29, 2016

I have been provided a document with highly detailed information on upcoming road projects and improvements. The document contains detailed and helpful maps that make it easier to understand exactly where improvements will be made and what those improvements will be. I hope you find them informative.

August 2016 Detailed Project Program



September 16, 2016

The linked spreadsheet contains the most current list/update of construction and improvement projects in our DOTD district, which includes the tri-parish area comprising Senate District 18.

DOTD August Construction Update


August 10, 2016

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has submitted its Highway Program for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year, which details DOTD’s proposal for projects that are scheduled for construction during the fiscal year. The list is sorted by parish and gives some limited details about the nature of the project. Included in the link below is general information from the Highway Program Proposal and the list of projects for Ascension, Livingston, and St. James parishes.

District 18 Highway Program for 2016-2017 Fiscal Year



The linked list of projects below (“Senate District Road Projects) includes all projects that have been approved for the parishes of Ascension, Livingston, and St. James. Priority 1 projects are the highest priority with cash and line of credit availability for the project. Priority 2 projects are similarly high in priority and often include line of credit funding for projects that also have Priority 1 funding. Priority 5 projects have been approved but are not in line for immediate funding; they have been judged worthy of merit and funding but will take longer to move into Priority 1 status. This list is current from the Capital Outlay Legislation approved by the Louisiana Legislature and the Governor in the 2016 sessions.

Senate District Road Projects

Additionally, the link below is a map of current and immediate state highway projects within DOTD District 61, which includes Senate District 18.

Highway Program Priority Map