Officials explore P3 options for Calcasieu bridge replacement
Louisiana – State officials plan to replace the nearly 70-year-old Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, and hope to move the project forward this year.
Calcasieu River Bridge photo courtesy of PJ Hahn
The bridge is almost 20 years past its intended life span, and is considered functionally obsolete and structurally deficient. A replacement is estimated to cost $850 million; however, funding sources have yet to be identified. An environmental impact study must also be completed before the project can continue.
Officials say it could take until 2024 to begin construction, although they have narrowed bridge alternatives from five to two. They also anticipate the environmental study to be completed by the end of 2020. A final statement could be ready to submit to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) by 2021.
Once the FHA approves the statement, the state can begin procuring designs and firms for the project, a process that’s likely to take another two to three years.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has pledged $85 million for the bridge replacement. Officials are contemplating whether to pursue traditional federal-state funding methods or a public-private partnership (P3). Should a P3 be selected, tolls would pay for the majority of the project.