Better Ways To Use The I-10 Bridge
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says the I-10 bridge is perfectly safe, but the number of people I’ve met who don’t work for the DOTD and actually believe that is exactly zero. It has a Sufficiency Rating of 6.6% out of 100, and its structural evaluation has been categorized as, “Basically intolerable, requiring high priority of corrective action.”
So, yeah. It’s a scary bridge, but there’s not much we can do about it right now. Still, while we wait for the 210 bridge to get repaired first (for some reason), we thought it might be fun to come up with some better uses for the terrifying menace that dares thousands of vehicles to cross it every day.
Community Clothes Line
Think about it. We have a lot of people renting in Lake Charles and the surrounding area, and if there’s one thing in Southwest Louisiana scarier than the I-10 bridge, it’s skyrocketing rent. (Seriously, it’s out of control.)
With the high cost of living, a lot of apartments don’t even provide washers and dryers. Instead, the local laundromats are the happening place to be on Saturday mornings, with everyone feeding their hard-earned quarters into the mouths of hungry laundry machinery.
Why not set up a free service, instead? Everyone can meet down at the beach, wash our clothes in the lake, then hang them up on the I-10 bridge to gently dry in the cool, fresh breeze as it blows across the water.
Plus, all the laundry detergent in the water might even clear up the lake. It's a total win-win.
World’s Largest Skateboard Ramp
Lake Charles is missing a golden opportunity to cash in on the whole roadside attraction industry. Canker City, Kansas has the world’s largest ball of twine, and you just know those guys are raking in all that sweet, sweet tourism cash. Why shouldn’t we get in on the action?
Picture it. The bridge is crazy steep, and skateboarders would come flying down it like little human-shaped rockets. It’d be amazing to watch, and that’s not even factoring in the influx of cash we’d get from hosting the next X-Games or whatever. I mean, extreme sports are still a thing, right?
Come on, Lake Charles! Somebody call up Tony Hawk, and let’s make this happen.
Exercise Track and Super Slide
If there’s one thing that’s trendy in America right now, it’s fitness. Everyone walks around with their little FitBits keeping track of their every step, gym memberships are at an all-time high, and people are even eating healthier. I smell an opportunity here.
Why not slap a track down on the bridge, then charge people a nominal fee to run it? Sure, the bridge struggles to carry the weight of thousands upon thousands of tons of vehicular traffic, but a foot race? That’d be easy.
Think of the calories you’d burn just running up the thing! Then, once you get to the top, we could install one of those super slides you see at county fairs (and Contraband Days). It’d make getting back down a whole lot easier, and it’d be fun for the whole family.
A Towering Monument To Man’s Arrogance
Let’s face it. The bridge was a dumb idea. There’s no reason we had to build such a ridiculous structure, when a simple drawbridge would’ve worked just as well. In fact, I can’t recall ever seeing a single ship passing under the bridge that would need the crazy clearance it offers, although I’m sure it probably happens. Or maybe it did happen, back when the monstrosity was constructed. I dunno. It was built a couple of decades before I was born.
Looking at it now, though, one can’t help but wonder why it’s so dang steep. Couldn’t we have built a longer bridge, with a more reasonable incline? Why are its railings covered in flintlock pistols? Why, why, why?
So many questions.
I say we scrap the idea of fixing it altogether, and just register the bridge as a historic monument to man’s arrogance. They say we can’t fix it because of all the chemicals in the lakebed. They say we can’t fix it because it’s too expensive. They say we can’t fix it because 210 is more important. They keep giving us a million reasons why repairing the I-10 bridge would be impossible, which says to me that the bridge itself is an impossible structure.
It shouldn’t exist. But it does.
Let’s celebrate that, and maybe make a few tourist dollars along the way. Charge admission to walk up and down the thing. Sell replicas of the railing guns. Gather up all the chunks of concrete and steel that fall off it every day, and sell them in the gift shop.
Dollar dollar bills, y'all.
Or, You Know, An Actual Bridge
Of course, the best use of the I-10 bridge would be to keep it serving as a bridge - but a bridge that people aren't scared to cross. While fixing the existing bridge might be impossible, I don’t see why we couldn’t just build a new one.
We’ve made a lot of advances in engineering over the past half century, so I’m sure someone could come up with something like a clever suspension bridge that wouldn’t disturb the lakebed during its construction. We put men on the moon 17 years after we built the thing, and we’ve had nearly fifty more years of progress since then.
It’s not impossible, kids.
We can do this, Louisiana.