New Lake Charles Bridge Plan, Including Tolls, Gets Nod from Louisiana Legislative Committee
Lake Charles, LA (KPEL News) - Finally. A plan to build a new I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has gotten the nod from a legislative committee. Tolls for everyone, though, will likely be part of the deal.
The Joint Transportation Committee of the Louisiana Legislature met Tuesday afternoon and approved the contract proposed by Governor Jeff Landry.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development had until Thursday, February 1, to come up with a new proposal or risk losing the $150-million Mega grant awarded to the state, specifically to be used for the Calcasieu River Bridge replacement.
The legislative committee calls the governor's approach "a significant shift" from the one presented by the Edwards administration, adding:
effective infrastructure development, contrasting sharply with former Governor John Bel Edwards’ less transparent and costly plan.
The plan approved by Southwest Louisiana legislators and two other committee members includes:
- A 25% cost reduction from the previous agreement.
- A fair toll with a discounted rate for local residents.
Governor Landry expects tolls to be reduced by 26%, with 60% of people who don't live in Louisiana paying the tolls. He also shared a bullet-point graphic on social media explaining how the project would benefit southwest Louisiana residents.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter began celebrating after the governor visited southwest Louisiana just after the freeze in mid-January. He acknowledged in a Facebook post that, although the plan isn't ideal, it is more feasible than the previous iteration.
No word yet on next steps or when work on the new bridge would begin.
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