Will the I-10 bridge construction traffic affect the LHSAA Softball State Tournament?

Will the I-10 bridge construction traffic affect the LHSAA Softball State Tournament?
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Over 90 teams from across the state will be battling it out for softball championship titles, and while the tournament is held in Sulphur, many teams book hotels in Lake Charles.

But will traffic play a role in this year's tournament?

The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau told 7News hotels are sold out in Calcasieu Parish--filled with teams for this weekend's tournament.

While traffic is a concern, they say they've already talked to teams about preparing to get across the Calcasieu River.

Even the best softball player might forget one or two things.

Athlete's Corner manager Samuel Moss has spent years helping those who might forget something right before the LHSAA Softball State Championships, but this year there's a new challenge---traffic.

All due to work on the I-10 bridge, something Moss says he and his customers are starting to notice.

"I hear them tell their husbands and their kids, load up we got to leave 30 minutes or 45 minutes early just to get to Sulphur," he said.

With construction on the I-210 bridge looming, could the traffic problems interrupt the tournaments?

"The Sulphur state tournament has been very beneficial not only to us but our community," said Moss. "I sure hope that doesn't happen"

"Baton Rouge has traffic, Lafayette has traffic," said Eric Zartler with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. "New Orleans and any of the cities that it really could go to have the same issues."

Zartler understands traffic has been a concern for many but says they have been communicating with all the teams about it, and believes fans will find a way to make it to the tournament.

"They're going to get around the traffic or they're going to leave a little earlier and do what they have to do to make sure they get to Sulphur," he said.

Jacqueline Blank is one of those already planning ahead for the weekend.

"We're going to come pick up my granddaughter, and take the back roads through Sulphur," she said. "It's easier that way."

But while Moss worries about the traffic this weekend, he'll be ready to supply a sock or belt to any player that needs one.

"It's something that you know you got to be proactive with, and understand and try to deal with it the best you can," he said.

Zarlter says next year the tournament will go with a two-day format with only 48 teams. He believes more teams will be able to stay in Sulphur, and it will be easier to manage.

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