Final design for new Interstate 10 bridge expected in 2026

Expect a final design for the new Lake Charles Calcasieu River-Interstate 10 bridge in 2026. The design solution largely follows the alternative approved in the environmental document proposed by Calcasieu Bridge Partners in November 2022, according to an email from Department of Transportation and Development District 7 spokesperson John Guidroz.

Detailed plans will be approved in numerous design packages over the next two years, Guidroz said. The limits of the P3 project are from near the I-10/I-210 interchange to near the Ryan Street interchange.

Calcasieu Bridge Partners was one of the two final firms considered by the DOTD for the partnership endeavor. The state made the announcement that CBP was selected for negotiations for the $2.1 billion project in July 2023 for construction slated to begin in 2024.

In October 2023, the Joint Transportation Highway and Public Works Committee voted down the P3 proposal.

Last week, the Joint Legislative Transportation, Highway and Public Works Committee voted in favor of the partnership and plan to move forward, with some changes. Louisiana DOTD Secretary Terrence “Joe” Donahue outlined those changes in the January 30 Committee hearing. Commercial truck rates were reduced by a third. The state will receive 14 to 16 percent of the tolling revenue beginning the first year. The DOTD retained risks went from $415 million to $280 million.

Guidroz said the DOTD is working through the details of the updated design solution near Samson Street in Westlake.

“By reducing the relocation of the rail spur tracks and pipe racks, we will reduce risk to project cost and schedule. DOTD coordinated with the owners of the pipe racks and rail spur tracks during the environmental approval and P3 procurement process. They have not yet discussed the updated proposal with stakeholders as it is a very recent change and specific details are being developed.”

Guidroz said the DOTD will work closely with the local and state elected officials during the design process.

Westlake Mayor Hal McMillan said he heard from Gov. Jeff Landry by phone that Westlake will receive its overpass of train tracks.

Construction is estimated at this time to take seven years.

Lead designers for Calcasieu Bridge Partners include Arcadis U.S. Inc., Huval & Associates, Janssen & Space Engineering, Inc. and Modjeski & Masters Inc.

Since late 2019, DOTD has been working with advisors and outside consultants it retained specifically for this project,  and a total of $37 million has been spent, of which more than $11 million was spent specifically on the P3 aspect, the American Press reported in August 2023. That includes technical documents and associated legal and financial advisory services, services typical for putting a P3 together, the DOTD said. If Calcasieu Bridge Partners had not been selected, they would have walked away with a $2.75 million stipend which Kalifoda said would not cover the $10 million, Calcasieu Bridge Partners  spent on preliminary design, securing financing, legal contracts, conducting traffic and revenue forecasts.

Financing close of the approved agreement is estimated to be the first week of April.

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