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Is a new bridge coming over the Contraband Bayou?

Updated: Aug. 23, 2017 at 1:07 AM CDT
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(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's been four years since residents first heard of the plan to link Nelson Road with Sallier Street and divert traffic from Lake Street.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation came back to Lake Charles Tuesday night to go over that same project.

"I came to the last meeting, and I was kind of worried that it was over with," said resident Alain Newman.

But the Nelson Road Extension & Bridge Project is still scheduled to happen despite a four-year delay.

The plan is for Nelson Road to extend all the way to Contraband Bayou where residents can cross over a 56-foot bridge over to West Sallier Street.

DOTD met with the public back in 2013 to go over this project, but an issue with ship surveys created the four-year long wait.

"We went through a pretty extended vessel survey process in order to satisfy the U.S. Coast Guard requirements and determine an adequate bridge survey clearance," said project manager Joseph Cains III.

The project cost $71 million, but that includes two other projects, improvements to West Sallier Street paid for by the city, and a rail road relocation on Sallier Street paid for by the Port of Lake Charles.

DOTD says before the bridge project can get started though, the rail road relocation has to be completed first.

"By relocating the railroad you're eliminating over 17 at grade crossings that would have been a conflict with both pedestrians, bicycles as well vehicles," said Cains.

Those who attended were confident that this project would improve the traffic on Lake Street.

"I do believe it would make traffic flow so much better," said resident Charles Patterson. "...There is so much congestion out there."

"It's definitely going to help pull the traffic from Lake Street," said resident John O'Donnell. "It's definitely going to help take care of a lot of the traffic from Nelson Road, so it's going to help also make those roads easier to move on."

The project also offers biking options that some say are long overdue.

"We're seeing more and more people every year that are starting to commute on their bikes and more of them will if we have safe paths," said Newman.

But as DOTD continues to get more public input, residents are just excited for what's to come.

"We're closer than we were four years ago," said Newman.

DOTD will be accepting public input on the project until September 5th. You can email your comments to Jessica.Keasler@terracon.com or mail them to 2822 O'Neal Lane, Building B, Baton Rouge La 70816 Attn: Jessica Keasler

To read more on all three projects, click HERE.

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