Police Jury approves $20.5M improvement wish list

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Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford presented a list of infrastructure improvements to the Bossier Parish Police Jury Wednesday, Jan. 16. (Courtesy photo)

If wishes come true, and if the Bossier Parish Police Jury can find a funding source for $20.5 million, work on infrastructure needs in the parish could move forward.

Parish Engineer Butch Ford got approval for his capital improvements “wish list” from jury members Wednesday after giving a breakdown on needs for the new parish sewer district, bridges and road/drainage projects.

Most of the $20.5 million would be spent on prioritized road and drainage projects. Ford listed $14 million worth of needs, including $4 million for right-of-way acquisition at Arthur Ray Teague Parkway and $2.5 million for engineering of the proposed East/West thoroughfare.

That total also includes realignment of Swan Lake Road at Flat River and at Linton Road and Flat River. Those would be matters of safety by removing curves at the bridge sites.

Parish bridges are a critical area of need, Ford said. Much work has already gone into design and other plans on a couple of bridges on his priority list. 

FEMA and the state off system bridge program would help pay for three bridges, but Bossier Parish would have to come up with a total of $3.5 million on four others. 

“We’ve worked on some bridges…the Sligo Rd. bridge over Foxskin Bayou is ready to go out for bid,” he said. “The Linton Rd. bridge is already in the state’s off system program and the state will fund $2.8 million. That bridge is scheduled to go out for bid in 2020.”

Ford said a pair of bridges (Kelli Rd. and Swan Lake Rd. bridges over Flat River) have been approved by FEMA, but construction costs must first be paid by Bossier Parish.

“We will get 75 percent of the money back, but that will take time,” Ford said. “The money must be borrowed, we don’t have it. All these projects are needed and we’ve got to get started.”

Some of the bridge projects can’t be started because of high water, Ford said.