The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance has an ambitious plan for building a new Interstate 10 bridge in Lake Charles.
The I-10 Bridge Task Force released its recommendations today.
The task force is proposing a new bridge — north of the existing one — costing between $400 and $600 million.
It would have six lanes, modern lighting, and walking and bike paths.
The current bridge has been rated “structurally deficient” in several categories, but the federal highway administration and DOTD say the bridge is safe.
The task force is recommending a public-private partnership to build a new bridge.
No tax revenue or debt would be used.
Instead, private companies would pay for the project.
The contractors would be paid back through the use of electronic tolls on the bridge.
“Transient and through traffic pay for the large part of these tolls. We’ve learned that there’s opportunity for local or frequent user discounts to ease the blow of having to pay to cross the bridge,” said Bart Yakupzack of the I-10 Task Force.
The DOTD says its aware of the task force’s findings, but since they just came out, they’re going to wait until they have all the information before commenting on it.
As for a new bridge, the DOTD says an environmental impact study is currently underway.