More repairs planned for I-210 Bridge

Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s hard to forget the traffic nightmare that came along with construction on the I-210 bridge in 2019, but more traffic delays are expected when repairs are made to the bridge’s lights.

Just months after the lighting system went up, it was damaged in the hurricanes.

Damage to the bridge’s lighting system makes for another costly repair at $1.2 million. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says these repairs will be made to withstand stronger winds.

“I know the public was very disappointed with the damage that bridge received, especially after having spent the time in construction that we did, but it is the responsible thing to do,” said Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Shawn Wilson.

The 2019 traffic backups aren’t something residents want to relive.

“My trips to Sulphur were less. I couldn’t go visit my grandchildren as much as I wanted to because it took a long time to get over there,” said Paula Taylor.

“It backs up a lot of traffic. People have a hard time getting to work. I do visit my daughter in Sulphur a lot and would get into some traffic jams,” said Ed Nelson.

During the resurfacing project, commuters saw the worst of traffic during rush hour.

“Sometimes it’ll take 45 minutes to an hour from the plants to get home,” Nelson said.

“There was a lot of people that I knew that the construction drove to retire, some of them maybe a year or so earlier than they had planned,” said Lake Charles resident James Taylor.

Now, the next project aims to repair the lighting system and railing. Taylor says inadequate lighting is a safety concern.

“I drove back and forth on the bridge for years while I was working shift work at one of the plants, and I think that is an immense safety issue,” Taylor said.

DOTD says the new lighting system will be better equipped to handle hurricane-force winds.

“The taller the pole, the more wind flexibility you are going to have,” Wilson said. “Having shorter poles means a different light span, so I might have to put them closer together instead of having them further apart.”

Fortunately, drivers have some time to prepare. The project is expected to start early next year and wrap up by June 2022.

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