Possible Construction to Start on a New I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge in 2020

Possible New I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge Construction Starting in 2020

During a news conference on Friday, January 25, 2019, a task force proposed a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge with an estimated cost somewhere between $400 million and $600 million. Construction of the bridge is proposed to be paid for by private funding, with the cost being repaid back to the private company by tolls charged after the bridge is completed.

The proposed plan is to make the bridge six lanes wide, and include a pedestrian walkway. There are also plans to include on and off ramps that will go over the train tracks in Westlake and connect to Sampson Street. The task force gave a three-year timeline to build the bridge.

Update: January 25, 2019, at 3:55 p.m. – The proposed new bridge will run north of and parallel to the current I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge if it is constructed. It was also mentioned that there is a possibility that locals and people who frequently cross the bridge will be able to receive a discount on tolls. 

The new bridge is also expected to have a lower 73-foot clearance. 62 feet lower than the current bridge which has a clearance of 135 feet.

Update: January 25, 2019, at 4:35 p.m.

This recommendation for a privately funded new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge is based on the following:

  • LADOTD has pledged its federal match dollars for the next 12 years to projects in more populated areas (New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport).
  • LADOTD’s proposed bridge replacement alternatives are estimated to cost $800M in 2018 dollars and do not include ingress and egress at Sampson Street over the railway into the City of Westlake.
    Value engineering alternatives discovered by the I-10 Bridge Task Force reduce the cost to $400-$600M and these do include ingress and egress at Sampson Street over the railway into the City of Westlake.
  • LADOTD’s annual statewide maintenance and capital improvements budget is $650-$800M.
  • LADOTD’s current infrastructure backlog is more than $13B.
  • A low-interest loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) routinely used by other states is not available because LADOTD defaulted on its TIFIA loan in connection with the LA1 Project.
  • LADOTD’s response to the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request indicates that the 1994 EDC spill contamination is not a cause for delay.
  • LADOTD’s traditional method of delivering mega infrastructure improvements is not a viable option because the state does not have the funds to secure federal match dollars and will not have the funds in the foreseeable future.
  • The proposed gas tax increase will not generate sufficient funds to replace the bridge.

I-10 Bridge Task Force Members:

  • Dr. Daryl Burckel, President, McNeese State University
  • Ernie Broussard, Hunt Guillot and Associates
  • Ken Broussard, CPA, Owner, Broussard Companies, Inc.
  • Keith DuRousseau, Owner, Keiland Construction
  • Marion Fox, President/CEO, Jeff Davis Economic Development and Tourist Commission
  • Brent Lumpkin, Owner, Lumpkin Properties, commercial real estate investor, developer, broker
  • Vernon Meyer, Civil Engineer, Meyer and Associates
  • John Pohorelsky, Attorney and Past Chamber SWLA Chair
  • Ken Francis, Sales Center Manager, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Past Chamber SWLA Chair
  • Denise Rau, Owner, Rau Financial Group
  • Rick Richard, Founder, Empire of the SEED
  • Jim Rock, Site Executive Director, Lotte Chemical USA
  • Bart Yakupzack, Attorney, Jack Lawton Companies
  • Tobie Hodgkins, Owner, Century 21 Bessette Realty, Inc., Past Chamber SWLA Chair
  • Philip Earhart, Market President, Iberia Bank, Chamber SWLA Chair
  • George Swift, SWLA Economic Development Alliance/Chamber SWLA President/CEO

The bridge in the featured image is for illustrative purposes only.