The Interstate 10 Calcasieu River bridge was named one of the nation’s most dangerous bridges in a recent Travel and Leisure magazine article. The 60-year-old I-10 bridge was No. 7 on the list, which was topped by Boston’s Storrow Drive. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 9:54 PM
The Interstate 10 Calcasieu River bridge was named one of the nation’s most dangerous bridges in a recent Travel and Leisure magazine article.
“While the arching profile of this cantilever bridge may be aesthetically pleasing, its steep grades have been cited as a traffic concern, especially given the high volume of trucks the bridge carries along this major east-west corridor,” reads the article, titled “America’s Most Dangerous Bridges.”
The 60-year-old I-10 bridge was No. 7 on the list, which was topped by Boston’s Storrow Drive.
Lauren Lee, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said that if the bridge were deemed unsafe, it would be closed.
The bridges on the list see average traffic of more than 50,000 vehicles per day, the article said. The rankings were compiled using 2012 Federal Highway Administration sufficiency ratings, which judge “structural adequacy, safety, serviceability for modern use, and essentiality to the public.”
“The resulting list reveals America’s high-traffic bridges with the worst sufficiency ratings,” the article reads.
About 66,000 vehicles per day cross the Calcasieu bridge, Lee said. The bridge has a sufficiency rating of 9.9 out of 100.
“Sufficiency ratings are used to help identify structures that qualify for rehabilitation or replacement through the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Program,” Lee said in an email.
“It is important to note that just because a bridge’s sufficiency rating is low does not imply that it is unsafe. The safety of the traveling public is the top priority of DOTD. If a bridge is deemed unsafe during an inspection, it is closed until repairs are made.”
The Calcasieu River overpass was the only bridge in the south on the list. Most of the 19 bridges listed were in the northeast, with six in New York, three in both Massachusetts and New Jersey and two in Connecticut.
Repairs totaling $5.7 million completed late last year “involved cleaning and ‘spot’ painting, sealing deck joints, structural steel repairs, and inspecting and repairing finger joints,” Lee said.
A plan to replace the bridge was put on hold after ethylene dichloride from a 1994 pipeline leak was found around the bridge, causing concerns that construction could cause the chemicals to enter Southwest Louisiana’s drinking water.
The American Press reported this week that a study of how to proceed with the bridge will last until 2016. Although there is no timeline for construction, the study will help determine the cost and alignment of a new bridge, Lee said.
She said the I-10 bridge project envisions replacing the bridge, six-laning the Lake Charles I-10 corridor, replacing the approaches, revamping interchanges and redesigning the Sampson Street interchange.
Posted By: mario dominguez-8/27/2013 On: 8/27/2013
Title: SAFETY MUST BE A PRIORITY IN LAKE CHARLES, LA.
If I-10 bridge is one of the nations most dangerous, where does it stand in structure safety? Who would be responsible for the damages and lives if this Old Bridge collapsed. The traffic number will increase and will get more dangerous...it is time to take action and replace the Bridge.
Posted By: KB On: 8/25/2013
Title: Safety and New Engineering
It just needs to be flexible. The Fred Hartman leading between La Porte/Deer Park and Baytown area is an example. Due to such complicated weather conditions, water and high volumes of traffic the area needs flexible cable tension. The cables can be tightened and loosened. The further details are beyond my expertise but it has been sufficient.
This is just a picture:
Posted By: Toya B On: 8/20/2013
It's always just talk what there gonna do; to me they don't value the lives of the people who are crossing it.
Posted By: Michael Tritico On: 8/18/2013
Title: Try to get the inspection reports
I tried and got over 3,000 pages full of redactions (blacked out lines). Maybe you can do better.
Posted By: Gidget Sanders Corn On: 8/17/2013
I remember crossing this bridge as a child when I lived in Lake Charles. I never gave it a second thought. When I come home for a visit it does scare me crossing over it. Long, and steep. I would not like to be on it in the rain though. It's a beautiful bridge that has been part of our town for many of years.
Posted By: Gregory Viator On: 8/17/2013
Title: Calcasiieu river bridge- I-10
I like everyone else views the bridge as a landmark! But there comes a time when safety comes first! I think the reason the bridge has not been replaced is purely political! If it were kn New Orleans or Baton Rouge even Lafayette, this bridge would have long been replaced! Unfortunately, it's in Lake Charles, the gateway to the south!!
Posted By: Darrell On: 8/17/2013
The fact That it will take three years before anything is done on the bridge is sad. It shows a lack of leadership we have in this area as we keep on waiting for this spill from 20 years ago to be cleaned up. They should have a plan in place already and funding being established, so that way we can get started on the bridge as soon as clean up is done.
Posted By: Linda Dousay On: 8/17/2013
Title: Thank you!
My opinion of the Lake Charles American Press just skyrocketed. I was born and grew up in Lake Charles. I love the bridge as much as any person alive, but it scares me to think of my family and loved ones crossing the bridge.