A week from tomorrow big trucks will be re-routed around the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge. And it's expected to be that way for three or four months of bridge repairs. The trucks will be detoured because the state will be doing extensive maintenance on the bridge. And while the detour is directed at big trucks the bigger effect may be on businesses close to the bridge.
Road King is a frequent stop for many truckers that cross the I-10 bridge. But those we talked to do not appear too concerned about being re-routed to the I-210 bridge for several months due to construction. Says trucker Hernando, who doesn't speak much English, "I go to turn left." Reporter: "Are you worried about it?" Says Hernando, "No, no."
Steve Jiles with the State Department of Transportation and Development, even under normal circumstances truckers are encouraged to use the 210 bridge because there's less traffic and the bridge is not so steep. "I-10 has almost double the traffic on it than 210 does. The gradient of I-10 is steeper so it's harder for a truck to climb the ascending portion of the I-10 bridge, harder than it is 210. They can maintain speed better up 210."
Jiles says rerouting the trucks may help get the project finished sooner and with fewer problems. "Hoping to facilitate construction and possibly limit the number of closures that occur during daytime on I-10 and hopefully maybe advance the completion of that whole project. We feel like some of the benefits of not having trucks on that bridge during some phases of that repair work will expedite the work."
Jiles says local trucks will be able to use I-10 on either side of the bridge-- they just won't be able to cross it. "Local trips can travel all the way to the bridge and that would be Westlake exit in the eastbound direction and Lakeshore Drive exit Westbound and they can service any facility through that area they just can't cross the bridge for the next several months."
The bigger effect may be on businesses like Road King, if they have less truck traffic. Manager Najam Mufti says, "The biggest concern is to the government department should work on this bridge to fix as early as possible because economy's going down and because this is a logistics area and we have a truck stop and surrounding area concerned with that, so definitely we will lose business if it will take more time to fix this thing."
Jiles says they do want businesses keep the state posted on any problems that develop. The detour is scheduled to start October 4th by which time they should have signs up. For more information on how to contact the state with any concerns call Steve Jiles at 437-9100 or check out the Face book page called I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge.