LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's no secret that Southwest Louisiana is growing and with an influx of people in our area, traffic can sometimes become a problem. Now, with repairs needed to one of our major interstates, people need to start planning.
"The I-210 bridge project is estimated for two-and-a-half to three years in completion," said Todd Landry, district administrator with DOTD.
The project is estimated to be let out for bids in August and construction will begin sometime in early 2017.
The Go Group met with first responders and industrial representatives last week to discuss the future of Southwest Louisiana's transportation system.
"We're only going to allow one lane in both directions across the 210 bridge and that's going to be the main issue for our area," said Landry.
"The 210 project is going to fundamentally change people's driving habits," added Dick Gremillion, director OHSEP. "Getting to work on time is going to take more time, you're going to have to think through where you're going and instead of just jumping into your car and making a quick trip here or there,"
It's been a project that has been a long time coming. Officials said one of their main concerns is responding to emergency situations.
"The biggest critical issue is emergency response to a bridge accident, once the particular 210 construction starts," Gremillion stated.
Gremillion said concerns are: " the staging of emergency vehicles and how to get there, what sequences emergency vehicles need to go in, and how do we render aid to people that have been involved in an accident, and also to the I-10 bridge but it's also going to apply to all the other areas in the region."
Gremillion added that it's all about communication and adds that the goal is make sure the public realizes what they can expect as they will need to prepare for their commutes.
"All of these traffic issues are going to become more intra-related than ever before." he said. "So if there is an accident on 210 and I-10 traffic will be backed up for miles, people just need to be aware that there's not much we can do about that, but people should factor this into the planning. You may have to have a traffic plan for yourself for every day. There will be traffic in places where you never expected it."