Bossier Parish has selected Best-Yet Builders Inc. of Shreveport to complete the widening of Swan Lake Road from I-220 to Flat River. (Photo by Scott Anderson)

Residents eager for traffic relief on Airline Drive and other north-south arteries could begin to see some progress before the end of this summer.

The Bossier Parish Police Jury awarded a bid to Best-Yet Builders of Shreveport to widen Swan Lake Road from Interstate 220 to Flat River. Parish Engineer Butch Ford said it’s been a long time coming.

“We’ve been working on this since 2004,” Ford said. “It’s ’18 and we’re about to do our first project. Everybody’s been excited about this happening.”

Kent Rogers, executive director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments, said the widespread benefit of this project made it a priority.

“That will give another north-south corridor through the northern half of Bossier City in to Bossier Parish,” he said. “That will take some of the traffic off of Benton (Road) and Airline (Drive). This is going to relive some of that congestion and also open up some more development, which is a great thing for everybody.”

The estimated cost of the project was almost $14.8 million dollars. Best-Yet won the project with a $13.9 million bid. Of that, the parish will pay 20 percent. The rest of the funds will come from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Ford said this is the first of two planned phases of work on Swan Lake Road. The second phase will be to build a new segment of Swan Lake Road from Flat River to Crouch Road.

NLCOG has helped secure funding for this and other projects.

“The parish had received some earmark funds many years back,” Rogers said. “We went though the environmental studies for many projects, including this and the proposed east-west corridor. But that money ran out, so we started digging for other funds. We will be using attributable fund for the construction part of this project. We eventually hope to use some of those funds for the east-west corridor, too. But it will be competing with a lot of other projects in the area.”

The proposed east-weta corridor would run from Winfield Road to LA 3. Ford said the next priority is to get funds from the state to start engineering work for that project. He said subdivision developments already are encroaching on the proposed corridor.

“We’ve got to preserve the corridor and get the studies done so we can tell people how much right of way we need,” Ford said.

These are two of the projects that came out of the Bossier Parish Transportation Plan in 2004. Ford and Parish officials created the plan based on a comprehensive land use study done by Wilbur Smith Associates in early 2003.

Ford said that all of the work that already has been done on these projects with the future in mind.

“The whole (Swan Lake Road) corridor from I-220 to Crouch Road has been cleared for five lanes environmentally,” he said. “We have found it best as we go through to clear them for the maximum you would ever need. That way, in 10 to 20 years if you need to expand it, you don’t have to go back through the process. All the setbacks and everything already are in place.”

By Scott Anderson