Police jurors frustrated over no I-10 bridge lights

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) - Calcasieu Police Jurors have been asking for lights on the I-10 bridge for years and have made various pitches to help fund the cost, along with the City of Lake Charles. So to receive word that the state considers the plan to light the bridge inadequate, well it's upsetting to jurors like Francis Andrepont who have been pushing for bridge lights for a long time.  "It just absolutely bewilders me that we cannot move forward on the bridge that has as much traffic on a daily basis as that one does. That is the only bridge I know of that is not lighted. Go to Baton Rouge, go to New Orleans, go to Monroe, go to wherever all those bridges are lighted. We've been talking about this issue for years and years now and it's time to quit talking and try to do something about it."

Part of the problem is that the state has had trouble finding a lighting system that can withstand the structure's vibration. Said Administrator Bryan Beam, "The earlier one had vibrations and so the bulbs broke and so they did a new plan but the lighting isn't good enough. It's a design type hang up and it is frustrating for all of us involved."

Still jurors think it's dangerous. Says juror Kevin Guidry, "You're looking at a bridge that doesn't have any shoulder, I mean it's not lit. That could really be serious."

Parish officials have asked the city to come to the next meeting so they can compare notes.

On the heels of that,  Andrepont asked for a permit office on the west side of the river. "Maybe we could set something up over there and save this traffic over the bridge since there's no lights." Staff agreed to look into options.

In other action, if you are one of those people who haul your junk out into the woods and dump it illegally, well, you may get caught on video. At police jury tonight Jason Barnes disclosed that they have hidden cameras at some sites and will use video to pursue criminal charges against illegal dumpers. For obvious reasons, Barnes won't say where they have cameras.  "I met with officer Dent this afternoon and we spoke about a couple of sites where we actually have some enforcement cameras on and he gave me some updates on some things with that. With respect to the reserve officers we actually already use them once a month for what is known as a litter blitz where we watch and give citations to people who litter there on the spot."

Also, jurors found out they're working to put what they call solid waste convenience centers on each side of the river for people to bring junk and trash. Officials say they have to get permits from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality before they can open the drop off centers.

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