On July 25, 2023, Governor John Bel Edwards and Secretary Eric Kalivoda of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development revealed that Calcasieu Bridge Partners (CBP) has been chosen for negotiations for the public-private partnership project of the $2.1 billion Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge. The DOTD had received two proposals for the project earlier in June, but following a comprehensive assessment, CBP was selected.
The project entails a 5.5-mile stretch starting close to Ryan Street in Lake Charles, extending to the intersection of I-210 and I-10 on the western edges of Lake Charles.
In addition to establishing a new bridge and access points, the project also comprises the interstate highways and ramps, the I-10 service roads, as well as interchanges at PPG Drive, Sampson Street, and North Lakeshore/Ryan Street that link the interstate with state highways and local streets. To prevent obstructions caused by trains, Sampson Street will be raised over the railway lines.
DOTD has projected that work on the project could begin as soon as 2024 and is expected to continue for around seven years. The new bridge will have a less elevated design, providing a gentler slope, additional lanes, a full shoulder in each direction, and proper road lighting.
The suggested design aims to lessen the disruption to traffic while construction is underway. The scheme includes a strategy to alter the path of Sampson Street, which will reduce the expected duration of the street’s closure from 18 months to less than nine months.
Expected I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge Toll Rates
|Toll Tag Rate
|Non-Toll Tag Rate
|Peak Hour HOV Rate
- Local Auto is applicable only to vehicles registered in the five parish area, which includes Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Jefferson Davis, and Beauregard. To qualify, a toll tag is necessary. The reduced rates during peak hours necessitate the presence of three or more occupants in the vehicle as well as the requirement of a toll tag.
- Toll rates are indexed to CPI
- Toll tags will be provided to the public free of charge.
The construction, maintenance, and operations of the new bridge will be supervised and managed by CBP. They will recover their investment via tolls collected from motorists. DOTD indicated that the toll costs have been minimized as the financial funding for this project is a blend of $800 million from multiple sources, plus finding from CBP.
- The DOTD has been given a $150 million discretionary grant from the federal government for the project.
- Transfers amounting to $240 million from the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax fund.
- Funds amounting to $150 million sourced from the American Rescue Plan Act
- Bonds worth $85 million backed by the state’s general obligation
- Federal funds from the Highway Priority Program amounting to $75 million.
- $100 million from state general fund
The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is directly allocating another $150 million from the Highway Priority Program funds for the project. These funds will be used for acquiring rights-of-way, relocating railroads and utilities, mitigating environmental issues, and enabling construction assessment by state inspectors.
The existing Calcasieu River Bridge, which was built in 1952, initially formed part of the U.S. 90 highway system. This bridge was in place before the establishment of the interstate system, which it was incorporated into during the 1960s. It’s commonly believed that the assumed lifespan of bridges built during that era was 50 years. According to DOTD, this bridge, now exceeding its expected lifespan, continues to remain operational and safe due to regular surveillance and upkeep.
Forecasts for traffic over the bridge indicate that by 2042, there will be over 110,000 vehicles on the road each day.
Calcasieu Bridge Partners is a collective venture comprising Plenary Americas US Holdings, Inc., Acciona Concesiones S.L., and Sacyr Infrastructure USA LLC.
Statement on I-10 Bridge Project Announcement Released by Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Local Mayors
In response to the recent announcement made by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, along with the cities of Lake Charles, Westlake, and Sulphur, have issued a collective statement regarding the Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge project.
The statement released by CPPJ President Chris Landry, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay, and Westlake Mayor Hal McMillin can be found below.
“The proposed I-10 Bridge project has been decades in the making and we firmly believe a new bridge is warranted and necessary. A vital economic and transportation conduit for the entire Gulf Coast, a new I-10 Bridge can provide for decades of sustainability for Southwest Louisiana.
We are all united that we would prefer a scenario with no toll at all; however, we need to see this bridge built. If a toll for this bridge is unavoidable and necessary, the tolls suggested in this current proposal are higher than anticipated. We beseech the state legislature and Governor Edwards to allow for continued dialogue and negotiations with the chosen developer in order for us to find a path to tolls that are more reasonable.”