The Sunshine Bridge is a cantilever bridge over the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Completed in 1963, it carries LA 70, which connects Donaldsonville on the west bank of Ascension Parish with Sorrento on the east bank of Ascension Parish as well as with Gonzales on the east bank of Ascension Parish. The approach roads on the east and west banks begin in Ascension Parish before crossing into St. James Parish.
The bridge is a convenient river crossing for residents of Baton Rouge, Hammond, and the Florida Parishes to travel to the Bayou cities of Houma and Thibodaux as well as vice versa. The bridge plays an important role in storm evacuation and in industrial development along the Mississippi.
From its opening in 1964 through August 15, 2001, a 50-cent toll was collected on traffic crossing to the west bank. The toll was discontinued by an act of the Louisiana Legislature, authored by Louisiana State Representative Roy Quezaire (D-Donaldsonville), whose district includes the bridge.
During the "Bridge to Nowhere" controversy over the AlaskanGravina Island Bridge which emerged in the 2008 United States Presidential Election, the Sunshine Bridge again entered parlance as having been itself a Bridge to Nowhere, recalling the fact that it had been named by GovernorJimmie Davis. At time of construction it was the only bridge across the Mississippi between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, but for some time after its construction while awaiting funds to connect it to LA 70 and other roads, the south end of the bridge emptied into a swamp. During that time the term Sunshine Bridge entered satirical usage. The bridge had been "built under the administration of" Governor Davis, who had twice picked and sung his way into the Governor's Mansion with hits like "You Are My Sunshine" and whose horse, which he rode into the Governor's office at his second inaugural, was named Sunshine.