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The old Traffic Bridge

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The Planters’ Press for September 19, 1935 published an interesting article about the repairs that were needed for the upkeep of the 20-year old Traffic Bridge.

“The people of Bossier City, led by our business and political leaders, have been contending for the repair of the old traffic bridge over Red River for over a year now. The very bad state of repair into which the structure has been allowed to fall threatens, in a measure, the very existence of Bossier City. This bridge connects the main street and heart of our town’s business district with Shreveport.”

“Over this bridge must pass the bulk of the traffic between Bossier City and Barksdale Field and Shreveport. Too, two trunk highways, leading into the city from the south and east provide a constant stream of vehicles for the bridge to accommodate.”

“The bridge was originally erected jointly by Bossier Parish and the City of Shreveport. Realizing that a toll-free bridge would be of immense value to business houses of Shreveport, that city some years ago acquired full title to the bridge with the Bossier Parish Police Jury.”

“The then District Attorney for Bossier Parish, who drew the agreement, informs us that Shreveport solemnly accepted the obligation of keeping the bridge in a good state of repair. That this is an established fact and the whole truth the City of Shreveport cannot deny.”

“While we full appreciate the fact that the times have been hard, taxes high and the demand for the spending of tax money too much for any city to bear, during the recent depression, we also are aware that Shreveport has her pledged word to live up to in connection with the care of the old traffic bridge.”

“At a time when money was being spent right and left for all sorts of public improvements, Shreveport could not find the few thousands needed to repaint, re-rail and re-pave the bridge. What matter if the Federal Government failed to approve a PWA project for the structure? Was not the care of the bridge a duty sacred enough, and important enough to merit the spending of the necessary funds?”

“We people of Bossier City need not delude ourselves into accepting empty promises and hoping for the best. One of these fine days the old bridge will have stood all the punishment from the elements it can bear. If we ‘sleep over our giths’ [!] until that time it will then be too late to act. Delegations from our town, from the Police Jury and from the civic bodies have tried in vain to get some action in this matter. Even the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the movement. State Highway officials have promised their aid. Though we appreciate their promise and hope they may be able to fulfill it, we also realize that the obligation is not theirs but Shreveport’s.”

“We cannot too strongly urge the people of Bossier City—our business people, our public officials and all private citizens—to continue to bear in mind the importance of getting this bridge repaired and reconditioned , and that speedily. It may not be able to stand another hard winter. On the other hand, if it is repaired it will be good for many years’ use. We owe it to our businesses, our town and its future to keep at this important matter until we get the desired action.”

The old traffic bridge was torn down in the 1960s to make way for I-20. To learn more about the history of Bossier Parish visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us