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Bids for Contraband Bayou Extension Project to go out this Fall

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 8:13 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A road project with the potential to upend homes and traffic on the west side of Lake Charles is about to hit an important milestone.

Bids for the Contraband Bayou Extension Project could go out as early as this fall. The Department of Transportation and Development met with the public in 2013 to discuss plans to create a bridge that would extend Nelson Road over to West Sallier Street.

“This started in 1978, believe it or not,” said Louisiana Senator Mark Abraham.

However, the effort to extend Nelson Road across the Contraband Bayou will have to cross another threshold before the building phase.

”I was on the port board at one point in time, and we were dealing with it then. So, that’s how long it’s been,” Abraham said.

Abraham, a proponent for the project, said the Port of Lake Charles and DOTD met last week to discuss its status.

“The port just formed a CEA with the Department of Transportation. The port is giving the property to the state. The state will continue to build that bridge.”

The plan is for Nelson Road to extend all the way to Contraband Bayou where residents can cross over a 56-foot bridge over to West Sallier Street.

Abraham says before the bridge is built, rail improvements on West Sallier Street would have to be completed first.

The project costs $70 million, but that includes two other projects: improvements to West Sallier Street paid for by the city and a railroad relocation on Sallier Street paid for by the Port of Lake Charles.

The project will include widening Sallier Street to a full three lanes or four lanes along with drainage, water and sewer upgrades, according to city officials.

”You’re going to see a lot of development along Sallier,” Abraham said. “The port has to move the railroad tracks from the south side to the north side of the road. That project will start also.”

In comparison to current talks surrounding a new I-10 Bridge, Abraham says the Nelson Bridge would be a game-changer for local traffic and hopefully ease congestion in the long run.

”The Nelson Road Bridge is completely different. It’s a much smaller bridge, but it’s just as important because it connects two parts of our city together.”

Abraham says they will start accepting bids for the projects before the end of the year with construction slated to start hopefully sometime in 2022. The estimated time to complete the bridge is two years.

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