By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bossier City is steadily making progress on the next major extension of the parkway north.
Construction is expected to begin within the next year on the $45 million Walter O. Bigby Carriageway project in Bossier City that will help improve traffic flow and allow drivers to avoid backups at railroad crossings.
On Aug. 21, Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson gave an update at the Bossier City Council meeting on the project, which will create a loop around Bossier City from the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway to Benton Road.
He said the city still needs to complete purchases of incidental right-of-way property and obtain certain permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, Hudson said.
“There are at least four Corps of Engineers permits to be gotten,” Hudson said. “The good news is their are no wetlands (to mitigate). I even have a letter from the corps of engineers telling me there is no wetlands.”
Remaining right-of-way should be purchased by the beginning of next year.
Hudson said improvements for the U.S. 80 portion should be bid out by the end of the year, and he hopes to have an entire set of plans completed for the parkway extension by the fourth quarter of this year.
“I would think we’ll start the summer of 2019,” Hudson estimated.
The project’s path will use East Texas Street (U.S. Hwy. 80) in downtown Bossier to begin the new route, which will progress along Old Benton Road, Hamilton Road, cross abandoned Union Pacific railway property, and hook up at Benton Road near Citizens Bank Drive.
Three roundabouts will be created at Texas Street, Hamilton Road, and Shed Road to allow drivers to get on and off the extension.
Hudson has said he expects construction of the parkway extension to take at least two and a half years.
Councilman David Montgomery asked whether the Hamilton Road utility relocation could be completed separately to avoid delaying construction of the entire project.
“We’ve talked about splitting our project up into two phases so that we can begin construction while AEP-SWEPCO begins their (electrical utility) relocation, so that our contractor and SWEPCO work concurrently,” Hudson said. “We will get started with the project. But the contractor will understand he’s going to build Hamilton Road last. That gives AEP time to do their transmission work.”