By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jimmie Davis Bridge project is currently held up in the Environmental Assessment phase.
Erin Buchanan, public information officer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), said the Jimmie Davis Bridge project is going through the federally-required phase and consultants decide how to move forward.
Specifically, whether to build one new span and rehabilitate the existing structure or build two new spans.
“The Jimmie Davis Bridge capacity project is still in the federally-required Environmental Assessment (EA) Phase. DOTD engineers, along with the department’s consultant, are studying whether to build two new bridge spans consisting of two lanes each, or to build one new two-lane span and rehabilitate the existing structure,” Buchanan said.
While the environmental process can often be lengthy, especially for larger projects, a detailed environmental document is required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in order to receive any federal funding.
“This process can involve multiple public meetings, as build options are added, eliminated, and revised. Public input is critical, and as always, we will keep the public updated as we move forward with this process,” Buchanan said.
She said a public meeting will likely be held in the first or second quarter of 2019 to present the latest information from the environmental phase.
“With either build alternative, additional capacity will be added to the bridge to allow for more vehicles to cross. The bridge currently services approximately 25,500 vehicles per day,” Buchanan said.
DOTD is anticipating a completed EA in late 2019. At this point, there is no timeline for construction.
The estimated cost for the capacity project is approximately $80 million. This will come from a combination of state and federal dollars, though a specific funding source for the state match has not been identified.
The project to rehabilitate the Jimmie Davis Bridge was terminated in June 2016. DOTD opted at that time to pursue a capacity project instead.
Funding that would have been used on a rehab project was diverted to the design and future construction of a new structure. That prompted the need for a supplemental Environmental Assessment, which is ongoing.
A public meeting was held in May 2017 to update interested parties on the process and gather feedback, which will be included in the official record of the EA.
DOTD will issue a notice via MyDOTD system when details regarding the next public meeting have been finalized.
“We encourage everyone to sign up via email to receive notices, as they also include important road and lane closures for state highways across the area. All of our press releases and notifications are posted on www.dotd.la.gov, updates to the project will be posted under the ‘Shreveport’ District tab,” Buchanan said.
[Ed.’s note: This article was altered to correct where Mrs. Buchanan had said that the project was “on hold” when the EA is part of the process of the project, and it is not being paused in any way.]