How's Lake Charles preparing for the I-210 bridge project?

How's Lake Charles preparing for the I-210 bridge project?
(Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Work on the I-10 bridge is causing traffic troubles all the way to Sulphur, but that may be nothing compared to what might happen when work begins on the I-210 bridge.

So what does Lake Charles plan to do to ease the economic impact of having the bridge under repair for possible three years?

Mayor Nic Hunter has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation requesting they consider incentives and adopt a 24-hour work schedule to complete the project ahead of schedule.

But Hunter believes if something isn't done, Southwest  Louisiana could take a big hit financially.

At last week's city council meeting, Mayor Nic Hunter read a letter he drafted to DOTD about the future I-210 bridge project.

"We're just asking DOTD to look at every option," he said."

That letter asked the department to look at ways to speed up the long process of repairing the I-210 bridge.

"The amount of time that this 210 project is scheduled to take can be damaging for the economy," said Hunter. "It could be damaging to the quality of life. It could be damaging for people trying to get to a ballgame or to a restaurant."

Some have already felt the effects of the I-10 bridge construction.

"It has affected my family," said Anita Barker. "My husband he gets off at 4:00, and he works in Sulphur so he's not getting home until sometimes 5:30 (or) 6:00 so it's kind of taking away from family time."

While there is no official date for 210 bridge work to begin, that hasn't stopped some from planning.

"We talk a lot about time of travel, (and) the time we should leave for our destination," said Tammey Cook. "(We are) making sure we provide that extra time because we know that it is a process."

The city is working to prepare as well. Along with the letter, the city council approved a resolution requesting DOTD adopt a 24-hour, seven day a week work schedule for crews.

Hunter also says they've been discussing placing ambulances and emergency vehicles in certain parts of the city.

But because this is a DOTD project, Hunter believes they should be footing the bill to shorten the timeline.

"We believe it's a wise investment for the state of Louisiana to consider other options upfront if they do cost more money," he said. "We believe they'll actually save money in the long run."

Thursday, April 12 the Lake Charles Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding a public forum that will hear concerns and ideas about the future of transportation across the parish.

The forum will be at the Lake Charles Civic Center and begin at 4:00 p.m.

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