DOTD secretary gives update on I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It’s one of the most anticipated projects here in Southwest Louisiana. A new Calcasieu River Bridge has been in the works for several years, and now final steps are being made to secure funding.
“This is perhaps the most complex and difficult project in my history of being at the department since 2005,” DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson said.
In a presentation in the Lake Charles City Council, Wilson outlined the latest on the billion-dollar project. Wilson said DOTD is obligated to construct both a new bridge, as well as neighboring interstates.
“Limits include from I-10 at 210 West from I-10 to 210 East,” Wilson said. “It is the entire stretch of interstate highway that exists in that footprint.”
It’s what Wilson calls the most critical portion of the project, the segment of I-210 West to Ryan St. That portion alone blows through the current estimated budget.
“We are upwards of $1.5 billion just for that portion or stretch of the project,” Wilson said.
With the total price tag over a billion dollars, officials currently have only $335 million in state funds and $65 million in federal funds.
Wilson said DOTD is in the position to apply for a discretionary grant, in which they are asking for $600 million.
“When you look at the total pot that is available for mega grants, and you look at the amount of mega projects that we know are applying, you are typically ten times over prescribed than what they can actually award,” Wilson said.
Wilson said his office expects a decision on the grant funding in the next couple of months. If all goes as planned, construction will begin in early 2024.
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