Louisiana revives public-private partnership to build $2.1 billion I-10 bridge

February 6, 2024

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has officially signed an agreement with a private firm to build a $2.1 billion toll bridge over Calcasieu Lake outside Lake Charles, reviving a deal a legislative committee killed in October.

Approximately $1.2 billion of the project cost will be covered by state and federal funds. Calcasieu Bridge Partners (CBP) will oversee the maintenance of the construction, maintenance and operation of the new I-10 Calcasieu River bridge and will cover the remaining costs and recoup its investment using a toll system.

The Joint Legislative Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee approved the public-private partnership (P3) between the state and CBP during a meeting last week.

The legislative committee originally signed off on the P3 concept in December 2020. However, it soured on the idea in part because proposed toll rates were heavily weighted toward local and long-haul truckers. 

The DOTD said the new proposed toll rates on trucks would be just $8.25 with a toll tag and $12.36 without. Under the previous proposal, rates for large trucks would have been $12.50 with a toll tag and $18.73 without.

The project involves building a 5.5-mile corridor stretching from near Ryan Street in Lake Charles to the I-210 and I-10 interchange in Westlake. Along with the new bridge and approaches, the project includes 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.

The existing span is a four lane, precast concrete and steel Warren truss bridge over Calcasieu Lake.

The new bridge will be lower and less steep than the existing bridge, which was built in the early 1950s and predates the interstate system. The new bridge will include full shoulders and roadway lighting.

“Southwest Louisiana residents have waited decades for a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge,” DOTD Secretary Joe Donahue said. “Now, it’s more than just a pipe dream. We at DOTD are pleased to see this project advance. Motorists can look forward to an upgraded bridge that will be in line with today’s regulations.”

Construction could begin as early as this year and is expected to take approximately seven years, the DOTD said.

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact research@spartnerships.com.

Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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