LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - During President Trump’s speech at Cameron LNG he had an exciting announcement for Calcasieu Parish residents.
“If we win this election which is just 16 months away, we’re giving you a brand new I-10 bridge,” President Trump said.
The crowd burst into cheers because it’s been a topic of discussion for years and replacing the I-10 bridge is a task that’s long overdue. Bart Yackupzack, a member of the I-10 River Bridge Task Force says the bridge is over it’s projected 50 year life span by 17 years.
"The World War II Memorial Bridge, it precedes the interstate system, Yackupzack said. “The bridge was designed for 37,000 crossings a day. As of the 2016 traffic numbers it had 80,000 plus crossings per day.”
The bridge was built in 1952, making it 67 years old. The Department of Transportation and Development ensures that the bridge is currently safe, but Task Force members say the age raises concern.
“The Task Force is comfortable with the state’s directive that if the bridge were found unsound that it would be closed immediately and that’s our biggest concern," Yackupzack said. "We don’t want the bridge to close it’s important for our region with 210 having two lanes closed it’s an absolute major crisis of congestion for folks.”
The cost to rebuild the bridge would fall between $400,000,000 to $600,000,000. Another reason the Task Force says President Trump’s announcement instills hope.
“Yesterday was an incredible day because what it showed is two Senators and several Congressmen, one from our region but several others that aren’t from our region all came together and unified with the President of the United States to recognize that this bridge is of such importance that it needs to be replaced very soon," Yackupzack said.
The Task Force says every year that goes by the cost of a new bridge goes up roughly $25,000,000 due to inflation.