Bossier City Council District 1 representative Scott Irwin knows first-hand that perseverance and persistence pay off.

After seven years of working for it, Irwin got word recently that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has approved a traffic light for the intersection of Barksdale and Robert E. Lee boulevards in south Bossier City.

Robert E. Lee is the primary corridor feeding traffic from Southgate, Golden Meadows and other subdivision onto Barksdale Boulevard. So far this year, 15 crashes have occurred in this intersection, according Mark Natale, public information officer with the Bossier City Police.

Irwin said that although he doesn’t know when the traffic light will be installed, this step is encouraging to many.

“Just knowing that it’s approved and going to be done is a relief to many people who live in those subdivisions,” he said.

Irwin said he got involved with this project seven years ago when residents in those neighborhoods complained to him about difficulty getting out in the morning. He said the problem likely was exacerbated when Parkway High School moved south of that intersection, increasing morning traffic in that area.

When he first contacted DOTD, he was told the intersection did not meet the criteria for a traffic light. He said the alternative DOTD presented him was J-turns, which would have forced southbound traffic to turn north on Barksdale Boulevard and then make a U-turn. Irwin said he was told last year that the project would be expanded to install J-turns along the entire corridor.

With no progress made, Irwin got frustrated and took it upon himself to something earlier this year. He reached out directly to fellow Amite native Gov. John Bel Edwards.

“I called him and explained the situation and my frustration,” Irwin said. “He seemed genuinely concerned with the safety of residents in South Gate and the surrounding  neighborhoods. He said ‘Let me check into this and get back to you.’ Within a short amount of time, he called back and said it’s a done deal. Shortly after that, DOTD called and said it’s a done deal.”

Rodney Mallett, public relations director with DOTD, said a date for installing the traffic is is yet to be determined.

State Sen. Barrow Peacock said he was glad to see the project get approved.

“It was just a matter of time,” he said. “After doing multiple traffic studies on the area, DOTD determined that it warrants a traffic light. We have consistently monitored the situation, and DOTD will continue to monitor it. It’s all about working with our partners to get things done.”