Bossier City council hears plans to extend ART Parkway north

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Traveling through Bossier City could get a lot easier if a plan to extend the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway is approved.

Plans for a northern extension were presented to the Bossier City Council by Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson. The roadway will link the city with a four to five lane north/south corridor, ending just south of Douglas Drive on Benton Road (Highway 3).

“Most of our traffic travels north and south,” Hudson explained. “We’ve considered alternate routes, but this is the plan we like the most. There’s no perfect alignment, but this has been the best one we’ve looked at.”

Starting at the southern end, the corridor would take off from the Traffic Street and Highway 80 intersection, where improvements have already been made, and proceed northeast along the general Highway 80 alignment. The extension will continue to the old police training facility then proceed north on Old Benton Road.

The new highway would be located between the Union Pacific railroad and the levee. The roadway will cross over the Union Pacific railway with a bridge and touch down just a few hundred feet south of Douglas Drive.

The goal of this extension, Hudson said, is to create another roadway through the city that will not be impacted by railroad traffic.

“Once this project is finished we will have an overpass over Kansas City Southern, which runs through the city in an east/west direction, and we’ll have an overpass over the Union Pacific rail, which runs through the city in a north/south direction,” he said, noting a smoother flow of traffic through town.

The northern extension is just half of a two part major roadway upgrade. There are also plans to improve Highway 80, a phase that began several years ago.

The city widened and improved the intersection at Highway 80 and Traffic Street to accommodate an influx in traffic when Margaritaville was built. However, the road between East 3rd Street and the Old Benton Road intersection was untouched.

The plan, now, is to improve the alignment and add side walks, vintage-style lighting and landscaping to “freshen it up,” Hudson said. It also includes significant drainage improvements around the former police training site.

An addition to the original design is a roundabout style intersection that will join the two projects.

“Rather than having a signalized intersection there, what we suspect the traffic study will indicate is that a roundabout will serve us better,” Hudson said.

These projects are still in the planning phase and need approval by the Bossier City Council to move forward. A vote on Tuesday, May 5, could initiate the engineering phase and authorize money to purchase the remaining right of ways.

Pam Glorioso, special projects director for the City of Bossier City, said no one will be displaced by the roadway’s proposed path of construction.

“Everyone will be relocated,” Glorioso told the City Council. “Whether its a rental property or homeowner, we will go through the process of relocation with them.”

Hudson noted a two year timeline to complete both projects.