LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Prepare for traffic backups or maybe even an alternate route.
The I-210 bridge is set to undergo extensive repairs, as early as this summer.
DOTD presented a report at Thursday's Calcasieu Parish Police Jury meeting outlining those repairs. While it may be an inconvenience to drivers, experts say the repairs are necessary.
"We have a large project coming up on the I-210 bridge," said Todd Landry with DOTD.
Landry says the project will last approximately two years, "The letting is scheduled for March which means construction will probably begin this summer."
Repairs include replacing the main span deck - which Landry says is nearing the end of its life, "The main span deck is 930 feet long. It has to be replaced."
Approximately 50 years old, the I-210 bridge plays a critical role for the I-10 corridor by serving as an alternate route and major thoroughfare for local traffic.
It raised this question by juror Hal McMillin, "All the 18 wheeler traffic is going to be diverted over the I-10 bridge. And there's a lot of folks out there nervous. Is the I-10 bridge safe?"
Landry answered, "We do inspections on it annually, biannually. So, the bridge is safe."
While the bridge will remain open to traffic during the project, to help ease congestion, Landry says they'll try to keep three lanes open as much as possible.
"The total length of the project is two years. That doesn't mean we'll be down to two lanes for two years. We're trying to minimize that time for only the time it takes to replace the main span deck," explained Landry.
The roughly $20-30 million project will also include more modern bridge railing and new roadway lighting.
"At the end of this project the whole thing will be lit from Cove Lane interchange basically all the way to I-10," said Landry.
After bids come in, Landry says DOTD will come before the police jury once again with an updated traffic control plan.