By Amanda Simmons, amanda@bossierpress.com

Commuters can expect traffic delays on Swan Lake Road for the immediate future.

Contractors for the parish are steadily making progress on the new road that will extend from I-220 north to Crouch Road in Benton.

Heavy equipment is currently cutting in base material for the new roadway near the northern end of the project while dirt work continues to identify the future roadway on the southern portion.

Bossier Parish Engineer Butch Ford said the contractor has 510 working days to complete this part of the five phase project.

“Things are moving along good,” he said. “We couldn’t pick a better time to get started with the summer and good construction weather. It’s been a blessing for us.”

Ford said the first phase of construction will be completed by May of 2020. Drivers are advised to be aware and approach crews with caution while construction is underway.

“During any road construction project, there are going to be delays. There will be one lane open to traffic on that roadway,” Ford explained. “At some point, they will have a pilot car to lead traffic through the work zone. That will be a 24-hour operation.”

The next phase will actually close Swan Lake Road to replace and widen the bridge at Flat River.

Ford said they built the existing bridge in 2006 at 28 feet wide. Because of the latest traffic counts, the new bridge will be widened to 40 feet.

Ford called it an “extensive project,” resulting in a full road closure beginning in June through August of next year.

“You won’t be able to go north or south on Swan Lake next summer,” Ford said. “We’re going to maintain traffic for homeowners in the area. They will still have access to their homes and businesses.”

A new bridge crossing Willow Chute Bayou is also part of the construction project.

Contractors have poured the base for the bridge and are currently putting supports in place on concrete footing. The new structure, which is about one-half mile north of I-220, will replace the old wooden beam bridge.

The purpose of this $13.9 million project is to create a new north-south corridor to help relieve traffic on Airline Drive and La. 3.

Ford said the project is federally funded, with the parish only paying 20 percent of the cost.