Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced his efforts to advance the replacement the I-10 Calcasieu Bridge in Lake Charles.
"On his visit to this region in May, President Trump made a commitment to fund this bridge. Today on one of my many trips to this region, I am happy to announce DOTD and the Division of Administration are taking steps, at my direction, to introduce the 2020 Capital Outlay bill with $85M in general obligation funds to ensure Louisiana is prepared and ready to move forward," Gov. Edwards said. "These funds will be ready and available to work with our federal partners when they determine their share of the project. This funding commitment is real and positions the state to take full advantage of that offer."
DOTD is currently preparing an Environment Impact Statement in accordance with federal law, a pre-requisite to federal funding.
DOTD has been addressing the area's interstate needs with maintenance projects. DOTD has replaced joints along the I-10 corridor and is in the process of making improvements on I-210. The 210 project is slated to be completed in early 2020.
The main obstacle for the I-10 bridge at this point in the replacement effort is funding and time.
"The effort to address this and other infrastructure priorities in 2017 did not get a vote of the House of Representatives, but we continue to be competitive with federal discretionary grants," Gov. Edwards said. "With fiscal stability for the first time in a decade, we have a modest surplus and infrastructure is one of the very few areas where surpluses can be spent."
DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D, said this announcement is a major development and will help the state address another long-term, aging infrastructure concern.
"By having the funding in place, the state has begun the process of soliciting a consultant for the innovative delivery of this project," Sec. Wilson said.
"Since 2016, this administration, since 2016 has advanced major projects that have been in the statewide transportation plan for years, such as the Barksdale Air Force Base interchange in Bossier City, the Loyola Interchange in Kenner and the I-10 widening project in Baton Rouge. DOTD will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to secure the much needed funding to make the state's infrastructure safe and high performing for Louisiana travelers."