Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few items that the I-10 Bridge Task Force hopes will answer some of the community’s questions.


Submit your questions to the Task Force by clicking here.

Who will own the bridge?
The state will retain ownership of the bridge, not a private company.
Will there be toll booths?
No. An All Electronic Tolling (AET) system will be used. Vehicles will not have to slow down or stop. By eliminating the need for physical toll booths, traffic can be sustained at a free-flow pace, which increases safety and reduces vehicle idle times, thus reducing any negative impacts on the environment. Vehicle owners will either receive a bill in the mail or have the payment deducted from a designated account.
Where does the toll money go?
All toll revenue collected on the Calcasieu River Bridge would be directed to pay for the Calcasieu River Bridge and improvements to surrounding roadways and for repaying investors.
Will there be a frequent user discount?
The Task Force is committed to exploring frequent user/local discounts and to maintaining free alternative routes, which include the I-210 Bridge.
Why include a cycling lane and pedestrian walkway?
The Task Force received recommendations from national bridge builders who have included these and similar amenities on other bridges and explained the advantages, which include access, tourism and community pride. We were advised that given the scope of the project, the increased cost to add a cycling lane and pedestrian walkway is very reasonable and would enhance downtown development.
What is the preferred route and why?
The Task Force, elected officials, local business and industry have determined that a route due north of the existing bridge with elevated access into Westlake over the railroad is the most efficient and reasonable plan.
What is the height/clearance of the proposed bridge?
That would be set by the Coast Guard, but our research has found that a clearance above the water of about 75’ is what would likely be recommended. The existing bridge is 135’ or almost twice as high.
Isn’t it illegal to collect tolls on an interstate highway?
The federal government will have to approve tolling the bridge but this would not be the first interstate bridge to be tolled. In fact, the city of Mobile, Alabama, is planning to construct a $2 billion dollar bridge on I-10 and it will be tolled.
Why do we need a new bridge?
The Calcasieu River Bridge currently averages more than 81,000 vehicles per day. It was built to manage a maximum of 37,000 vehicles daily. Once complete, the new bridge adds two additional lanes of travel through this congested area. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.
Where will the new bridge be located?
The Task Force, elected officials, local business and industry have determined that a route due north of the existing bridge with elevated access into Westlake over the railroad is the most efficient and reasonable.
Why collect tolls when we already pay taxes for roads?
Plans to replace the bridge have been discussed for over 30 years. During this time, funding has not been allocated for our bridge. The State has spent its tax revenue on highway projects in more populated areas, and the Task Force and many citizens feel were less critical to transportation. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.
Will there be toll-free routes?
The I-210 Bridge would remain toll-free.
Where does the toll money go?
All toll revenue collected on the Calcasieu River Bridge would be directed to pay for the Calcasieu River Bridge, improvements to surrounding roadways required for bridge construction, and bridge maintenance.
Will the construction project use small and/or local businesses?
The I-10 Bridge Task Force is committed to requiring that the project bring jobs to the community.
Is it true a foreign company could own the bridge?
No. The state would maintain ownership of the bridge.
What is a concessionaire?
A concessionaire is the private company that LADOTD will enter into a contract with to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Calcasieu River Bridge.
What is the role of the concessionaire during the contract?
The concessionaire’s responsibilities include: design and construction; maintenance of the bridge; operation and maintenance of the toll system; financing the project; and repaying lenders and equity investors.
What is a Public Private Partnership?
A Public Private Partnership (P3) is a long-term contract with a private developer to build, finance, operate, and maintain a bridge. The Task Force has asked the State to shift both the design and construction risk as well as the long-term performance risks to the developer in return for its ability to collect tolls on the bridge.
Are there any indirect traffic impacts?
Yes. Because this will be a tolled facility, it is anticipated that some traffic will divert to the free route (the I-210 Bridge).
How long will construction take?
We anticipate a construction phase (from driving pilings to completion) of less than 3 years.
When will the construction start?
The Task Force believes a contract could be executed in 2020, depending on when the state issue RFPs.
What is the status of the Environmental process?
LADOTD has been working on the Environmental Impact Statement since 201_. It has been delayed __ times. The LADOTD most recently stated it will be ready by the end of 2020. However, the LADOTD has also stated that it is preparing a new alternate route for access into Westlake and that route has not been submitted as part of the long ongoing EIS process. LADOTD’s response to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request indicates the agency stated in 2010 that environmental contamination is not a cause for delay of new bridge construction. If the Task Force’s Innovative P3 process is implemented, the environmental hurdle would be the burden of the private developer and could be cleared in less than a year from the date the developer is selected.
How will the project help my community?
A new Calcasieu River Bridge will reduce congestion on Interstate 10 and save motorists time while spurring economic growth. The aesthetically pleasing bridge will enhance the Lake Charles and Westlake skylines. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.
What is the cost of the Calcasieu River Bridge?
The approximate cost is $400-600 Million if the project is undertaken via an innovative P3. The State’s project cost using its traditional delivery method is $800 Million, but the State does not have the funds necessary to secure federal matching funds and the Task Force does not believe it will for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, inflation alone will drive the State’s estimate upward by approximately $25 Million per year.
Isn’t the grade too steep for it to be safe to use the pedestrian and cycling lane.
The new bridge will have a clearance above the water of about 75’ and the existing bridge is 135’ or almost twice as high. The pedestrian and cycling lane will allow for safe use.
Who will own the bridge? The state will retain ownership of the bridge, not a private company.

Will there be toll booths?

No. An All Electronic Tolling (AET) system will be used. Vehicles will not have to slow down or stop. By eliminating the need for physical toll booths, traffic can be sustained at a free-flow pace, which increases safety and reduces vehicle idle times, thus reducing any negative impacts on the environment. Vehicle owners will either receive a bill in the mail or have the payment deducted from a designated account.

Where does the toll money go?

All toll revenue collected on the Calcasieu River Bridge would be directed to pay for the Calcasieu River Bridge and improvements to surrounding roadways and for repaying investors.

Will there be a frequent user discount?

The Task Force is committed to exploring frequent user/local discounts and to maintaining free alternative routes, which include the I-210 Bridge.

Why include a cycling lane and pedestrian walkway?

The Task Force received recommendations from national bridge builders who have included these and similar amenities on other bridges and explained the advantages, which include access, tourism and community pride. We were advised that given the scope of the project, the increased cost to add a cycling lane and pedestrian walkway is very reasonable and would enhance downtown development.

What is the preferred route and why?

The Task Force, elected officials, local business and industry have determined that a route due north of the existing bridge with elevated access into Westlake over the railroad is the most efficient and reasonable plan.

What is the height/clearance of the proposed bridge?

That would be set by the Coast Guard, but our research has found that a clearance above the water of about 75’ is what would likely be recommended. The existing bridge is 135’ or almost twice as high.

Isn’t it illegal to collect tolls on an interstate highway?

The federal government will have to approve tolling the bridge but this would not be the first interstate bridge to be tolled. In fact, the city of Mobile, Alabama, is planning to construct a $2 billion dollar bridge on I-10 and it will be tolled.

Why do we need a new bridge?

The Calcasieu River Bridge currently averages more than 81,000 vehicles per day. It was built to manage a maximum of 37,000 vehicles daily. Once complete, the new bridge adds two additional lanes of travel through this congested area. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.

Where will the new bridge be located?

The Task Force, elected officials, local business and industry have determined that a route due north of the existing bridge with elevated access into Westlake over the railroad is the most efficient and reasonable.

Why collect tolls when we already pay taxes for roads?

Plans to replace the bridge have been discussed for over 30 years. During this time, funding has not been allocated for our bridge. The State has spent its tax revenue on highway projects in more populated areas, and the Task Force and many citizens feel were less critical to transportation. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.

Will there be toll-free routes?

The I-210 Bridge would remain toll-free.

Where does the toll money go?

All toll revenue collected on the Calcasieu River Bridge would be directed to pay for the Calcasieu River Bridge, improvements to surrounding roadways required for bridge construction, and bridge maintenance.

Will the construction project use small and/or local businesses?

The I-10 Bridge Task Force is committed to requiring that the project bring jobs to the community.

Is it true a foreign company could own the bridge?

No. The state would maintain ownership of the bridge.

What is a concessionaire?

A concessionaire is the private company that LADOTD will enter into a contract with to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Calcasieu River Bridge.

What is the role of the concessionaire during the contract?

The concessionaire’s responsibilities include: design and construction; maintenance of the bridge; operation and maintenance of the toll system; financing the project; and repaying lenders and equity investors.

What is a Public Private Partnership?

A Public Private Partnership (P3) is a long-term contract with a private developer to build, finance, operate, and maintain a bridge. The Task Force has asked the State to shift both the design and construction risk as well as the long-term performance risks to the developer in return for its ability to collect tolls on the bridge.

Are there any indirect traffic impacts?

Yes. Because this will be a tolled facility, it is anticipated that some traffic will divert to the free route (the I-210 Bridge).

How long will construction take?

We anticipate a construction phase (from driving pilings to completion) of less than 3 years.

When will the construction start?

The Task Force believes a contract could be executed in 2020, depending on when the state issue RFPs.

What is the status of the Environmental process?

LADOTD has been working on the Environmental Impact Statement since 201_. It has been delayed __ times. The LADOTD most recently stated it will be ready by the end of 2020. However, the LADOTD has also stated that it is preparing a new alternate route for access into Westlake and that route has not been submitted as part of the long ongoing EIS process. LA DOTD’s response to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request indicates the agency stated in 2010 that environmental contamination is not a cause for delay of new bridge construction. If the Task Force’s Innovative P3 process is implemented, the environmental hurdle would be the burden of the private developer and could be cleared in less than a year from the date the developer is selected.

How will the project help my community?

A new Calcasieu River Bridge will reduce congestion on Interstate 10 and save motorists time while spurring economic growth. The aesthetically pleasing bridge will enhance the Lake Charles and Westlake skylines. The Calcasieu River Bridge is presently rated 6.6 out of 100 by the National Bridge Inventory. If it fails or is taken out of service, all I-10 traffic would have to cross the I-210 Bridge. The combined traffic on both bridges was in excess of 136,000 per day in 2016. Day long congestion would surpass that of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge during peak travel hours.

What is the cost of the Calcasieu River Bridge?

The approximate cost is $400-600 Million if the project is undertaken via an innovative P3. The State’s project cost using its traditional delivery method is $800 Million, but the State does not have the funds necessary to secure federal matching funds and the Task Force does not believe it will for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, inflation alone will drive the State’s estimate upward by approximately $25 Million per year.

Isn’t the grade too steep for it to be safe to use the pedestrian and cycling lane?

The new bridge will have a clearance above the water of about 75’ and the existing bridge is 135’ or almost twice as high. The pedestrian and cycling lane will allow for safe use.