Public hearing held for construction on Calcasieu River Bridge

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 10:46 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Steps are being made towards a new I-10 bridge.

“Those businesses who rely on that traffic are going to start losing it to 210,” a resident said.

Tolls were at the root of several comments made at Tuesday’s public hearing for the Calcasieu River Bridge Project.

The hearing is a requirement before the Department of Development and Transportation can take its next steps.

The current bridge will be torn down once construction is complete, but a new bridge is only a piece of the entire project.

“The actual project limits are from I-210 on the West side to I-210 on the East side, so a component of that is a replacement of the Calcasieu River Bridge,” deputy secretary of DOTD Eric Kalivoda said. “The whole project is actually all of I-10 between those points.”

Once the public comment period ends, DOTD will prepare a final environmental impact statement for approval before proceeding.

“The first phase of that will go from I-210 on the West side to Ryan Street, and that will be the initial part of the project,” Kalivoda said. “The rest of the reconstruction for I-210 on the East side will be done in phases, but it will have to be done in future phases as additional revenue comes in.”

Many locals spoke before the crowd voicing concern and frustration about tolls, including state representative, Phillip Tarver, who said the legislature worked hard to allocate one billion dollars.

“And we are asking DOTD and the others responsive to make a way of finding the other $500 million necessary to build this bridge,” Tarver said.

“I pay enough taxes as it is right now, and I don’t feel like the toll – it’ just too much for us,” a resident said. “I don’t think anybody in this town, state or anywhere wants to pay anymore tolls.”

Kalivoda said the project isn’t financially feasible without tolls.

“If the project is moving forward, it will have to as a toll facility,” Kalivoda said.

The public comment period for this project will last until January 3, 2023.

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