PHOTOS: Construction of the I-10 Bridge in Lake Charles
A few know that I am a Lake Charles history nerd. I always have been. I have a few neat little trinkets of Lake Charles that are my pride and joy from its history, but I love looking at old pictures from way back in time.
Trent Gremillion runs Southwest Louisiana Archeology and always has the coolest photos to share from time to time. I get giddy like a kid on Christmas when he pops up on my Facebook feed and shares his things. This little post was no exception. The photos he shared are from the construction of our iconic I-10 bridge. Iconic? Well, whether you think it is because it might fall while you drive across it, or because it is a part of our amazing skyline, I still consider it iconic.
Before the construction of this bridge, to get across the area commuters would cross over a draw bridge connected to Highway 90. If you pass in front of the port in the ship channel, you can still see the support structures for that bridge next to the Bow Tie Marina. If you go down Lake Shore Drive, you can see it from there as well.
Although we call it the I-10 bridge, it has an actual name besides just the Calcasieu River Bridge. In 1951 it was named the Louisiana Memorial World War II Bridge. It was built on Highway 90 and later became the I-10 bridge after being grandfathered in. Basically, it's already built, just connected it up! After it was built, it was the only major bridge in the Lake Area, until 210 was constructed in 1962.
Construction began in 1948 and included walkways for you to walk up and over. Once the Interstate Highway System was put in place, pedestrians were no longer allowed to cross. This actually then classified the bridge as functionally obsolete. See, it was obsolete before we even started crossing it with thousands of heavy vehicles!
According to Gremillion, plans for the bridge began in 1932. The estimated cost of the project then was $4.5 million. After delays and World Word II going on, the project took 5 years to complete and ran up a tab of $13.1 million. For those of you wondering, the crossed pistols total out to 5,286. I actually won a gift basket one day in High School for knowing that random fact!
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