The Linton Road bridge over Black Bayou Reservoir is getting a major facelift.

The existing bridge, which has served lake area residents since the late 1970s, will be replaced for one with a concrete deck and concrete pilings. The Bossier Parish Police Jury has also voted to widen the bridge, taking it from 28 feet to 40 feet.

The $2.6 million project is being funded through the Federal Off System Bridge Program, which the parish participates in. The new bridge will be similar to several others in the parish, including the nearby Parks Road bridge.

Traffic on Linton Road has steadily increased since the bridge was built 40 years ago. Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford said there are easily 5,000 cars crossing it every day.

“This area used to be just rural land,” Ford said. “Because the traffic is so high, it needs to be replaced.”

Years ago, the parish hired an engineering firm to do a study on all of the bridges in Bossier Parish, looking at things like the age of the bridge and the amount of traffic on them. The Linton Road Bridge was second on their suggested replacement list, following the Sligo Road bridge in south Bossier.

The bridge was closed briefly last year after an inspection revealed some of the timber pilings were beginning to rot. The parish was able to put in support pilings over a span of three and a half days.

The upcoming replacement project, though, will take much longer to complete.

“Because it’s over a lake, it’s going to take longer than usual,” Ford said.

The new 40 foot bridge will have two 12 foot lanes with 8 foot shoulders on each side. Ford said they’ve also considered raising the bridge elevation by about a foot to give boats more space underneath.

The project is still in the early phases of work. Ford said they’ve hired an engineering firm to begin the land survey process and once they get a plan in place, they must submit it to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD).

The Bossier Parish Police Jury will be paying for the design of the bridge, but the remainder of the project will be funded through the Federal Off System Bridge Program. Once they get final approval from DOTD, they’ll put the project out to bid.

“When we have our plan in hand and they give us the go ahead, we will get the utilities moved and get it started,” he said.

There’s no construction timeline or starting date as of now. When the project finally does start, though, Linton Road will be closed for the duration of construction.

Ford said it “could be closed for six months,” but they aren’t to that point yet.

“That’s something that will be determined closer to the start of the project,” he said. “They are just now surveying the land out there. ”

Ford is eager to see the project completed.

“When they’re finished, we’re going to have us a new concrete bridge with concrete piles that should last us 50 years,” he said. “I’m excited to get this done. It’s needed and it’s not going to cost the parish.”