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Lake Charles residents hope Joe Biden doesn’t forget hurricane relief amid infrastructure pitch | Lake Charles News | The Advocate – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-05-06 11:57:00 –

Lake Charles-President Joe Biden will visit this hurricane-stricken city on Thursday, and the location of his speech along its waterfront is almost suspicious of at least one issue he plans to address. I will not leave it.

About 70 years ago, the bridge Hulk and its arched trusses were clearly visible behind him, as what Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter called “a poster child for the need for a strong federal infrastructure program.” It works.

Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure overview could help replace it and is expected to promote ambitious packages during the visit.

However, local officials are pleased that the long battle to replace the bridge (Interstate 10 over the Calcasieu River) is drawing the attention of the White House, but the president also looks in the opposite direction. I want to turn and pay attention to what I see there.

If so, he will see the city’s 22-story Capital One Tower and its dozens of blown-out wooden windows. Probably the most visible example of the damage left as a result of two hurricanes that devastated southwestern Louisiana. August and September of last year.

Lake Charles — Standing near the vacant lot where his house once lived, Ron Thomas gave a message when President Joe Biden arrived …

For Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Parish, federal hurricane bailouts have been postponed for a long time, returning more residents home and doing business after a six-week hurricane roller that couldn’t do so for more than eight months. Desperately needed to resume. Later by Hurricane Delta.

Category 4 Laura was one of the most powerful storms that hit the United States with winds up to 150 mph, causing an estimated $ 19 billion in damage to the state. A Category 2 storm, Delta has followed an eerie-like path, leaving more misery.

Kalkashu Parish Police President Brian Absher considers infrastructure important, but when given the opportunity to talk to Biden, the importance of federal hurricane relief in areas of urgent need. He said he wanted to emphasize.

“There are still residents in the Parish of Kalkashu suffering from damage to their homes. Companies have been destroyed and they are doing business in a makeshift place,” said Absher. “So any additional dollars that can be allocated to the inhabitants of the area will be greatly appreciated.”

“The fact that the president came to town and didn’t deal with the recovery of the hurricane, and nearly 250 days after the hurricane roller, and the disaster relief package hasn’t been approved yet, is just a serious miscalculation,” Hunter said. Would be. ” Washington, DC, southwestern Louisiana. “

Hunter said such an oversight would be “serious injustice.”

Lake Charles officials estimate that about 3,000 residents have been forced to evacuate, but that number has risen to about 4,000 across Calcasieu. FEMA has provided mobile homes and travel trailers as temporary housing.

A recently published population analysis in the New York Times provided disturbing figures: Lake Charles was estimated to have lost about 6.7% of its population in 2020.

Local officials say the numbers were expected and they believe many have since returned. They say they need to do more to get the rest back. Lake Charles estimates that housing needs alone are over $ 230 million.

When it comes to bridges, few argue that they shouldn’t be replaced. Completed in 1952, before the existence of the I-10, it was later integrated into the interstate highway system.

The local task force on bridge replacement states that the bridge is designed for a lifespan of 50 years (expired in 2002) and can accommodate 37,000 vehicles per day.

According to Task Force Jim Rock, recent counts show a total of 90,000 vehicles per day, including many heavy-duty trucks that cross major arteries extending from east to west. A White House official said he currently carries more than 80,000 vehicles daily and was described as “bad” in a previous inspection.

According to Locke, the bridge is regularly inspected by the state and is considered safe for travel, but if the bridge is closed, traffic becomes a nightmare.

In addition to these issues, Locke said there are other safety issues such as steep bridge slopes and lack of shoulders.

The cost of replacing it ranges from $ 600 million to $ 800 million, and the state is likely to cover about 10%, he said. The current plan requires a toll to pay most of the rest.

“The biggest hurdle is financing,” Locke said. “These bridges are very expensive and there isn’t much money that can come out of the state’s financial resources. And with President Biden here today, especially when talking about infrastructure, this is We consider it a critical infrastructure that is sadly lagging behind in being replaced by a larger, better bridge. We are the energy center of the United States in LNG traffic and business with the industry. I’m in. “

Lake Charles residents hope Joe Biden doesn’t forget hurricane relief amid infrastructure pitch | Lake Charles News | The Advocate Source link Lake Charles residents hope Joe Biden doesn’t forget hurricane relief amid infrastructure pitch | Lake Charles News | The Advocate

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