LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Built in 1952, the I-10 bridge connecting east and west Calcasieu has long outlived its welcome.
On Friday, the Chamber of Southwest Louisiana announced a new proposal for a new I-10 bridge. The proposed design would exist north of and parallel to the current I-10 bridge. Consisting of six lanes, modern lighting, walking/bike paths, 73-foot clearance, and shoulders.
The proposal would cost between $400 and $600 million and include an entrance and exit into Westlake over the railroad.
For the proposal to become a reality, it must get approval from DOTD and the Governor’s Office.
Bart Yakupzack, vice chairman with the Chamber of SWLA, says the bridge is in desperate need of replacement.
“If something happened to our bridge and hindered transportation, our vitality as a region and state would suffer,” Yakupzack said.
Yakupzack says the best method to getting this project off the ground is through a private investors.
“In our discussions with experts, we learned that private ventures could quickly work through and develop a design and construct a bridge in a relatively short time period.”
Yakupzack says the private funding method would bring the project to fruition sooner, but require the residents pay a toll in order to use it, but he says it won’t be as large of a burden on the locals.
“Transit and thru traffic paid for the large part of these tolls,” Yakupzack said. “There is opportunity for local or frequent user discounts to ease the blow of having to pay to cross the bridge.”
He says though this project may seem like yet another headache to the seemingly constant construction we see on I-10 already, he says it’s a necessary step to bring our community into the modern era.
“It’s one of the major points in the southern United States. So, we feel like our bridge is a paramount of importance not only to our region, but to the entire United States.”