City of LC wants bridge to stay open during construction of new - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City of LC wants bridge to stay open during construction of new bridge

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

While a new I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River is years away, there is already discussion about how to expedite the construction process.

According to Lake Charles city officials, one plan that was tossed around a few years ago was to take the existing bridge out of service while the new one is being built.

Even though it was just discussion, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach expressed concern about that possibility. Roach said he wanted to express his concern and get that option off the table.

"During that time, we indicated to them that we would prefer to see the bridge remain open during construction. And the reason for that obviously for the adverse impact that would have on not only the downtown area, but also I think it would have a chilling effect on our ability to do any kind of development on the lakefront," Roach said.

In a resolution passed Wednesday night, the City of Lake Charles said shutting the bridge down would not only have a negative impact on future development opportunities, but they've also requested the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development salvage the historic pistols or replicate them in the new bridge design.

"We're encouraging DOTD, if possible, to incorporate into the design some type of feature that would either take those pistols and actually incorporate them into the design of the new bridge or at least some feature that would memorialize that and would incorporate some symbol of that," explained Roach.

While progress does come at a price, Roach said this is something the City of Lake Charles can't afford.

"We think that any effort to close the bridge would have a devastating effect to what we are trying to do downtown. So, we want to make sure that we get that off the table before this thing proceeds any further," said Roach.

Roach said Congress has yet to approve funds to build a new bridge.

Lake Charles city officials also requested DOTD host a public meeting to discuss the status and timeline of the bridge project and take public feedback.

It is still in the early planning stages by DOTD and officials are seeking to identify economic impacts from the city by Oct. 9.

"Although a new bridge is still a few years away, DOTD has asked for comments on the I-10 bridge project. They made it clear they were still 'early in the process' and wanted to identify 'economic and social effects or concerns' with respect to the project," Roach said.

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