Funding approved for Calcasieu River Bridge

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - More funding has been approved for a new I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River.

The money is part of the 2020 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Louisiana received approximately $216 million allocated for roads and infrastructure, $30 million of which will specifically go towards the I-10 Calcasieu River bridge.

“For the first time, we really have hope and belief that this is going to take place,” said president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Development Alliance, George Swift. “The state had previously committed $85 million to the project, which is about 10 percent of the cost. With the governor’s announcement of another 30 million, this gives us 115 million dollars to the cost of the bridge.”

Support for an infrastructure bill is still needed, and if passed, would likely pay for entire reconstruction of the bridge. More funding for the project will determine the cost of the toll.

“Our goal would be to get it all paid for with federal funds, but if that doesn’t happen, we have another plan moving forward,” Swift said.

While the bridge has been deemed safe by the state, it poses other safety concerns.

“It was designed for about 39,000 vehicles, and now we have at least 90,000 vehicles a day going over it,” Swift said. “There is no turn off lanes, steep inclines and no lights on the bridge.”

The Alliance pushes for a design that is both functional as well as visually appealing.

“It would tie into the lake front development,” Swift said. “We also want a pedestrian or bike path on the bridge so that people can walk or ride over the bridge.”

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