Louisiana’s New I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge Moves Closer to Reality

Calcasieu River Bridge | I-80 Exit Guide
Conceptual view of the new Calcasieu River Bridge | Louisiana DOT

Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Eric Kalivoda announced that the state has selected Calcasieu Bridge Partners (CBP) for negotiations for the $2.1 billion Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge public-private partnership project. DOTD received two proposals for the project in June and after thorough evaluation, CBP was chosen.

The project is a 5.5-mile corridor going from near Ryan Street in Lake Charles to the I-210 and I-10 interchange on the west side of Lake Charles.

In addition to a new bridge and approaches, the project includes the interstate roadways and ramps, the I-10 service roads, and interchanges at PPG Drive, Sampson Street, and North Lakeshore/Ryan Street that connect the interstate to state roads and local streets. Sampson Street will be elevated over the railroad tracks to eliminate blockages from trains.

Construction could start as early as 2024 and is anticipated to last approximately seven years. The new bridge will be lower and therefore not as steep, have more lanes, full shoulders and roadway lighting.

The design proposed seeks to minimize the impact on traffic during construction. Part of the plan calls for shifting the alignment of Sampson Street which will reduce the anticipated closure of Sampson Street from 18 months to fewer than nine months.

Toll rates will vary based on vehicle type and whether or not the vehicle uses a reduced rate toll tag. Toll tags will be available at no cost to the public. Only vehicles crossing the Calcasieu River Bridge will be subject to the toll. Tolling will not begin until the new bridge is open to traffic.

The current Calcasieu River Bridge was constructed in 1952 and was originally part of the U.S. 90 highway system. It predates the interstate system, which this bridge became a part of back in the 1960s. It is generally accepted that bridges built in that time period had an assumed design life of 50 years. This bridge is beyond its useful life and is kept open and safe through frequent inspection and maintenance.

Traffic projections show daily volumes in excess of 110,000 vehicles per day by 2042.

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