By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
A new path between retailers that would reduce traffic on Airline Drive is awaiting litigation that would see Bossier City take a piece of land for public benefit.
The Bossier City attorney’s office is currently finalizing pleadings before officially filling expropriation proceedings to construct two cross-access drives between the Walmart Supercenter and Kroger Marketplace stores.
“Right now we are just finalizing all of the pleadings and waiting to make sure we don’t hear back from any of the private land owners. Then we will begin the expropriation proceedings,” said Assistant Bossier City Attorney Gordon Mosley.
At this time, only a chain-link fence blocks pedestrians from going between the two stores.
He said that an agreement could not be reached by all private land owners involved, causing Bossier City to use expropriation to assure the community’s safety.
“Typically, Bossier City always tries to amicably work things out with private companies and land owners. But in a situation like this, where public safety is the primary goal and an agreement could not be reached, the city will utilize expropriation,” Mosley said.
Mosley says the city started looking into this issue after several citizens asked for an easier way to travel between the two stores.
“We began this project because the public desired a way to access the Walmart and Kroger parking lot without having to travel on Airline Drive,” Mosley said. “We hope that these cross-access drives reduce congestion and decrease the amount of accidents that occur on the busy street.”
Councilman Thomas Harvey said that he has been fighting for a cross-access drive between the two stores since the Kroger Marketplace opened in 2015.
“This is something that I just haven’t let go of,” Harvey said. “When it first was discussed Kroger was in favor of it, but Walmart was against it. It doesn’t make sense as to why people have to come out on Airline Drive to go next door to Walmart.”
Previously reported by the Press-Tribune last month, the state issued its support to Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson’s request for an opinion on the proposal of a connection between the parking lots of Walmart and Kroger.
“By connecting the two parking lots, it would allow customers of the businesses to travel from one location to the other without having to navigate Airline Drive. The connection would also allow customers from Walmart to access George Dement Boulevard and customers from Kroger to access Melrose Avenue,” said Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan. “This would enable a motorist to enter Airline Drive from a signalized side street, or enable drivers to access other local roads such as Plantation Drive and Viking Drive. DOTD believes this would create less traffic conflicts and safer conditions.”
Hudson also told the council that a Walmart representative had offered their support in removing the fence and building the cross-access drive that would be located on their side of the property.