LaDOTD Secretary urges state approval of Calcasieu Bridge P3

Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development (DOTD) Secretary has written to the state legislature requesting approval of the I-10 Calcasieu Bridge P3, setting out the timeline for financial close and urging politicians to avoid “shortsightedness”.

Credit: LaDOTD

In a letter to the chairs of the state Senate and House transportation committees, Eric Kalivoda has formally requested approval to sign the deal with the Plenary-led Calcasieu Bridge Partners, adding that the proposal is only valid until December 3, 2023. 

He said that the parties aim to reach financial close on the deal by December 21 - meaning approval from both committees will be needed “no later than October 24, 2023”.

“If a replacement project is not undertaken soon, a major, and likely very expensive, repair project will be necessary to keep the bridge in service,” warned Kalivoda’s letter.

“Failure to act or failure to grant DOTD authority to enter into this public-private partnership…will result in the necessity for a major repair of the existing bridge and its continuation in service for at least another 20 years given the reality of state finances, unprecedented construction inflation, and the compounding infrastructure needs across our state and our nation.”

He concluded: “Shortsightedness oftentimes results in long-term predicaments in which public expectations cannot be satisfied.”

The P3 deal’s future has been thrown into some doubt due to the recent gubernatorial election in the state, with former governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, having to step aside having completed his full two terms in office. The race was recently won by Republican Jeff Landry, with some uncertainty over his willingness to back the P3 scheme.

Landry beat Democrat contender Shawn Wilson, who had driven the I-10 project in his role as LaDOTD Secretary until he stepped down to run for office.