Legislative committee deals blow to I-10 bridge replacement project in Lake Charles


A $2.1 billion plan to replace the aging Interstate 10 bridge in Lake Charles suffered a potentially fatal blow last week when state lawmakers rejected the project’s financing plan because it relied heavily on tolls criticized by trucking companies, reports NOLA.com.

The Legislature’s Joint Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee voted 8-6 to kill a partnership between the state and its contractor, Calcasieu Bridge Partners, to replace the Louisiana Memorial World War II bridge over the Calcasieu River.

The payment plan drawn up by state officials in recent months melded state and federal dollars with tolling to underwrite the new bridge. Now, unless the state comes up with another model — and a lot more money — the bridge project can’t move forward. Transportation officials have said rejecting the plan could endanger federal grants already allocated for the project.

Legislators rejected the deal after trucking firms cried foul over a plan to force them to pay as much as $12.50 when crossing the bridge. Read more.