Progress made on Intracoastal Bridge repairs, Plaquemine ferry adjusting hours
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 4:49:00 PM
Baton Rouge – While work continues on the damaged Intracoastal Waterway Bridge on La. 1 in Port Allen, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced today that the Plaquemine ferry will temporarily increase its hours of operation beginning today, March 27. The extra hours are to mitigate increased traffic congestion due to the emergency lane closure on LA 1 southbound at the Intracoastal Bridge. These extended hours of operation will be in place for the duration of repairs to the bridge.

“We realize that increasing the Plaquemine ferry’s hours of operation won’t eliminate the traffic congestion caused by the lane closure on LA 1,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “But we’re doing everything we can to give drivers as many options as possible to cross the Mississippi River. Crews are working to expedite the repairs the damaged girder on the Intracoastal Bridge. Additionally, the joint repair project which was ongoing before the emergency repairs, has been accelerated because crews were able to work in the closed lane on the southbound side of the Intracoastal bridge, which was not in the original plans for the joint repair project.”

The heat straightening on the damaged girder is ahead of the projected month-long pace and could reopen as early as the end of next week, after which time we plan to resume the original overnight repairs with four lanes open during the peak travel times.

The Intracoastal Bridge was damaged by a truck on March 19, necessitating the closure of one travel lane on LA 1 southbound. DOTD has been taking measures to ease traffic congestion resulting from the lane closure. In addition to adjusting the ferry schedule, the department has placed personnel at traffic signals in Port Allen to monitor traffic flow and adjust as needed, installed a temporary signal on LA 1 to work as a ramp meter to give the I-10 off-ramp the right of way, and requested law enforcement presence at the I-10/LA 1 southbound merge. Travelers should be prepared for heavy congestion during the peak hours and when possible look for an alternate route to avoid I-10 westbound traffic.

“I understand that the traffic has been unacceptable, and crashes yesterday morning and in the afternoon only made the congestion even worse,” Wilson said. “This is an example of why we opted to keep two lanes open during peak hours during the joint repair project. However, due to an emergency repair project, the public has been inconvenienced much more than what was expected. The damage caused by the truck that hit the bridge bent a girder and made for unsafe driving conditions in the outside southbound lane of La. 1. I have been in constant contact with elected officials and citizens through social media since before the emergency project and we continue working to provide safe congestion relief to commuters. The real solution is finding a way to fund the reconstruction of this bridge.”

As part of the expanded ferry hours, the second ferry will begin service an hour earlier in the afternoon, and the first ferry will run for an hour longer in the evening. Additionally, a single ferry will run during the weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The adjusted schedule is as follows:

• Monday through Friday, the first boat runs from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Monday through Friday, the second boat runs from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
• Saturday and Sunday, one boat runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Motorists should note that slight schedule variations may occur due to crews working to cross as many vehicles as possible. Also, the following high-water restrictions remain in place:

• No large trucks (e.g., dump trucks)
• No buses
• No trailers

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).

Motorists may also use the Sunshine Bridge as an alternate river crossing.

Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at, by selecting MYDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages. Call 511 or visit for additional travel information. Out-of-state travelers may call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).