LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu River Bridge has no doubt seen better days. After more than 50 years of service, Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter along with Congressman Charles Boustany will be asked to include the replacement of the I-10 Bridge in the next Federal Highway Bill. While everyone agrees it's time, there's still several options on how and where to do it.
"One option is to tear down the bridge in its current location and rebuild it in the existing right-of-way, the other would be to replace the bridge in a right-of-way area north of the existing bridge," explained Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted a resolution to keep the existing bridge open and rebuild to the north. Mayor Roach urges the council to do the same.
"Replacing the bridge in the existing location and tearing that bridge down and interrupting traffic flow along the I-10 corridor for two to three years would be devastating to our community," said Roach.
Roach says the other plan would not only throw curve into downtown development, but cause traffic congestion on Interstate 210 and present new problems for future hurricane evacuations.
"It would only make good sense because otherwise we would have to make immediate repairs on the 210 if we route all that traffic that way," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.
"I'm hoping that at this point the message is clear: that any discussion that closing the I-10 bridge and re-routing on 210 for 2 to 3 years comes off the table. Because I think even the discussion of that is detrimental with what we are trying to do in terms of development with the downtown I-10 corridor and all of those other areas. I think anybody that is looking to locate here or have a business needs to have some sort of predictability as to what the traffic is going to do," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.
Unanimously approving the resolution, the council joins a united front with the M.P.O. to request D.O.T.D. keep the bridge open and rebuild in the new location.