4 votes

Sunshine Bridge


Photo taken by Ben Tate in February 2012

BH Photo #225909


Street Views 

Orgin of bridge name 

Written by Nick Boppel. Reuse of text exactly as written permitted .

I provided the following information to HistoricBridges.org about the origin of the name "Sunshine Bridge" and I figured I should probably provide it here too.

The bridge was constructed while renowned Louisiana singer and songwriter-turned-governor Jimmie Davis was in office. Davis rose to popularity as a singer with his hit song "You are My Sunshine". As governor, Davis was one of the strongest supporters of the bridge construction, as well as the proposed Arcadian Thruway (the toll highway that was meant to connect New Orleans with Lafayette while bypassing Baton Rouge). Obviously, the Arcadian Thruway was never built, but the Sunshine Bridge was a major component of the proposed project. When a name for the bridge was being sought, the then-retired Governor Davis declined an offer to have the named directly for him, and therefore it was named the "Sunshine Bridge" in reference to Davis' popular song (as there was strong support to memorialize Davis with the bridge in some way shape or form).


Through truss bridge over the Mississippi River on LA 70
St. James Parish, Louisiana
Open to traffic
Built 1963, opened October 12, 1964. The bridge was a toll bridge until 1979 but tolls were reinstated in 1989 before being removed for good in 1999 when the bridge's debt was paid.
Cantilever through truss
Length of largest span: 824.9 ft.
Total length: 9,099.7 ft. (1.7 mi.)
Deck width: 63.3 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.6 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.09833, -90.91167   (decimal degrees)
30°05'54" N, 90°54'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/701238/3331521 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory number
BH 19108 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 41.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 9, 2020: Essay added by Nick Boppel
  • August 1, 2013: New photos from M. D. Caillet
  • June 16, 2013: New photos from M. D. Caillet
  • February 24, 2012: New photos from Ben Tate
  • April 19, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth



Sunshine Bridge
Posted May 9, 2020, by Nick Boppel (nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am surprised that there was never any discussion on here about the barge pilot who crashed his barge and the crane it was carrying into the bridge in October 2018, severely damaging the lower chord. I've noticed that in the past people on this website seem to go crazy about "truck attacks" damaging historic bridges, but nobody mentioned this "boat attack". Nonetheless, the person piloting the barge was just as ignorant as any truck driver who damages an historic bridge, because marine traffic should be well aware of the clearance of various bridges on any navigable waterway they are traveling, just like truck drivers should be well aware of any weight/height restrictions on any roads they are traveling.

Obviously, the bridge is still standing and was repaired, but this was certainly an unnecessary close call for a bridge whose design is rare and only a few other examples exist.

Sunshine Bridge
Posted February 25, 2012, by Tom Hoffman

Neat four tower cantaliever truss in the middle of the flats.