This week, officials approved a plan to build a new Louisiana I-10 bridge that includes a major toll for truckers.
On Wednesday, January 31, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced the signing of a public-private partnership to build a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles for approximately $2.1 billion.
Trucker Tolls Tapped To Fund I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge
While $1.2 billion for bridge construction will come from various state and federal funding sources, the remainder of the cost will come from tolling.
According to the proposed toll structure, most of the toll burden will fall on commercial trucks. Truckers will pay $8.25 with a toll tag or $12.35 without a toll tag to cross the new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge. Local passenger vehicle drivers, on the other hand, will only pay a quarter to use the new bridge.
Any profits generated from the tolling system will be used to fund other infrastructure projects in the Lake Charles region, and then to reduce toll costs.
Truckers Say Tolls Are Unfair
The Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) has spoken out in opposition of the truck tolls proposed for the I-10 bridge.
“These tolls disproportionately burden the trucking industry with funding the project. For medium-sized carriers with multiple trucks that rely on this route to move goods, the annual tolling costs are calculated to be in the millions,” LMTA said.
“Interstate 10 runs through the country, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Santa Monica, California. In the 2,460 miles that I-10 runs, there are no tolls throughout the seven states the interstate intersects. The DOTD’s current plan of implementing tolling would provide the bridge and Louisiana with the only tolled portion of I-10 in the country. Allowing tolling on I-10 would set a poor precedent for our state nationally,” LMTA continued.
I-10 Bridge To Include Major Infrastructure Upgrades
Officials say that the bridge currently in place was built in the 1950s and has narrow lanes, no shoulders, and steep grades. The new I-10 bridge will be wider, less steep, with full shoulders and improved lighting.
“Getting this deal secured in a way that was best suited for the Southwest Louisiana region was one of my administration’s top goals when I took office,” said Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry. “With today’s signature, we have proven that we are committed to investing in infrastructure that will significantly benefit Louisiana and the I-10 corridor, and give the Lake Charles region a potential revenue stream for generations to come.”
“Southwest Louisiana residents have waited decades for a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge,” said DOTD Secretary Joe Donahue. “Now, it’s more than just a pipe dream. We at DOTD are pleased to see this project advance. Motorists can look forward to an upgraded bridge that will be in line with today’s regulations.”