State makes announcement as new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge moves closer to reality
Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 9:50:02 AM
Lake Charles – Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Eric Kalivoda announced today 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.

The renderings below are concepts, and CBP will host a meeting to receive public input on the aesthetics of the bridge.

(A conceptual view of what the bridge could look like)

(A conceptual view of what the bridge could look like)

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.

A public meeting providing detailed information on the project layout and the toll rates will be scheduled in the next few months. Subsequently, a hearing of the legislative joint transportation committee will be held for final review and approval.

Tolling will not begin until the new bridge is open to traffic. Toll rates are set at 2023 dollars and will be adjusted over time based upon the Consumer Price Index:

  • Local Auto is limited to vehicles registered in the five parish area (Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Jefferson Davis and Beauregard) and requires a toll tag for eligibility; peak hour HOV rates require 3+ occupants and a toll tag for eligibility
  • Toll rates are indexed to CPI
  • Toll tags will be available at no cost to the public

CBP will manage and oversee construction, maintenance, and operations of the new bridge and will recoup its investment through tolls paid by motorists. The tolls have been minimized because funding for this project will be combined with $800 million from a variety of sources:

  • $150 million federal discretionary grant awarded to DOTD for the project
  • $240 million in Motor Vehicle Sales Tax fund transfers
  • $150 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds
  • $85 million in state general obligation bonds
  • $75 million from Highway Priority Program federal funds
  • $100 million from state general fund

Another $150 million in Highway Priority Program funds are being used directly by DOTD for the project to cover right-of-way acquisition, railroad relocation, utility relocations, environmental mitigation, and review of construction by state inspectors.

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.

Calcasieu Bridge Partners is a joint venture of Plenary Americas US Holdings, Inc., Sacyr Infrastructure USA LLC, and Acciona Concesiones S.L.