CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Traffic in Southwest Louisiana has become unmanageable. If you travel west-to-east on I-10 you already know this. And this is not really a short-term problem. The current work on the I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River is a preparation step for an even longer project on the I-210 bridge. Reducing the capacity of our bridges by just one-fourth has created havoc for Southwest Louisiana.
Westlake and Sulphur neighborhoods are sometimes paralyzed by gridlock, businesses on both sides of the river are hurt by delays in commutes which can be hours long. Our tourism industry is endangered by traffic that encourages Texans to just stay home or go elsewhere. In short, the biggest economic boom in the history of the state is crippling us. We will continue to report on the current issues, including questions like "Why are the lanes closed when we can see no work being done?"
But the current I-10 and planned 210 bridge projects will only get us back to the same capacity we had before. This is just a first step toward what we all know is needed – replacing the I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River and increasing that capacity. Now is the time to get answers about that project and how we will manage the chaos during that construction. Now is the time to ask ourselves what we are willing to pay to relieve the pain. Are tolls acceptable? Is an additional fuel tax acceptable?
And now is the time to make sure we don't simply allow our destiny to be handled by the bureaucracy within the DOTD. This will not be the last editorial on this issue, it is too important, but now is the time for all of us to get involved in demanding adequate long-term solutions to the transportation nightmare that I-10 has become.