SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - With I-210 work underway, some are focusing their attention back on I-10 and renewing the call for the Calcasieu River Bridge to be replaced.
“In the amount of time it’s taken that we’ve talked about it, you could’ve built this bridge three or four times over,” Clay Savoy, CEO of Versa Integrity Group, said.
There have been talks of replacing the I-10 bridge for years, which is why now Savoy is speaking out in hopes of reigniting the conversation surrounding a replacement.
“Long story short, the infrastructure needs for this community, the interstate system is the bottleneck right now," Savoy said. "For surrounding areas, that are like the Beaumont and Port Arthur area, that have so much investment right now in the interstate, we could start to miss out on business opportunities in the long term once we get past this little economic boom we’re going through.”
He said he can see the impacts its infrastructure is having on his employees and how it impacts his business.
“We have give or take between 250 and 350 individuals that travel to and from this office if they work in the field, or, if they have to report to this office for office work," Savoy said. "Out of that, about 75% of those individuals live actually in Lake Charles, the eastern side of Sulphur. So, all the industries are based in Sulphur, but most of the people live in Lake Charles, so it really affects the day to day transportation.”
Savoy said he’s had to renegotiate contracts with his clients because their travel time drastically increases to get from their location to Sulphur.
While there’s been no announcement to replace the I-10 bridge, Governor John Bel Edwards said it’s in the works.
“We’re not trying to do work on 210 at the same time that we work on 10. So, we’re trying to make sure that we sequence these things in a way that makes sense for the motorists here,” Edwards said. "Not just the local motorists but, as you know, about 70 thousand vehicles a day traverse I-10 across Louisiana. So we have to get this right.”
Edwards said the most important thing is securing funding for the project before announcing official plans to replace the I-10 bridge.