Bossier City mayor talks priorities for the new year

1241
Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker in September 2019. (Randy Brown/Press-Tribune)

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a four-part series outlining parish leaders’ goals for the new year.]

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker is prioritizing road projects in 2020.

“The top of my list is to continue all the major infrastructure projects, primarily road projects,” Walker simply said.

Some of these projects include the completion of Phase 1 of the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway project, the extension of Innovation Drive to connect with Airline Drive, the widening of Viking Drive, connecting Melrose Avenue to Plantation Drive, and widening and lengthening Coleman Street in the East Bank District. 

“Innovation Drive is going well, we think that it will be probably in place by mid-year. And, that will help a lot with the north/south traffic on Airline Drive,” Walker said. “Melrose, right now, comes up to Airline Drive and then stops. We are going to continue that to Plantation Drive behind the new Kroger. That will help with a little bit of the Airline traffic.”

He also noted the city’s partnership with the Bossier Parish Police Jury to widen Swan Lake Road under the I-220 overpass.

“We will improve that section there with two additional lanes. That will make the traffic flow smoother in that area,” said Walker.

He then noted that officials are considering a similar project on Benton Road under I-220, saying that adding a lane would reduce the “choke point” on Benton Road.

He said the improvement of Coleman Street near Bossier High School is part of an effort to accommodate expected growth in the East Bank District.

“We have the medical facility that is planning on coming down there and there will be more continued development down there,” said Walker.

Looking at services, the mayor plans to expand the city’s animal control facility in 2020 by separating the adoption portion of the facility from its other areas, making it more customer friendly. That is slated to be completed by mid-year.

Walker also noted that the city council has requested leasing out the Bossier Civic Center’s management team.

As for parks and recreation, he pointed out the city’s $14 million project to add five new fields.

“We are making a major investment in our parks and recreation facilities. And, most of those will be complete this year,” said Walker.

Lastly, the mayor is looking towards hiring a director for Keep Bossier Beautiful.

“In combination the parish and the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, we are going to hire an executive director for Keep Bossier Beautiful. That will bring a little bit more structure to that organization…The office will be in a parish facility and they will be administratively assigned to the sheriff’s office,” Walker said. “The city and the parish are just not as clean as we want it. It’s going to be a much more proactive involvement to try to get our city and parish cleaned up.”

As for regional projects, Walker stated that he hopes the Jimmie Davis Bridge in south Bossier will finally start to take shape.

“The Jimmie Davis Bridge has been a safety issue for years. The capacity for that bridge has been exceeded for years. The state did have the money for it, State Senator Barrow Peacock was very involved. But it came down to whether we wanted to do that or the I-49 Inner City connector first. The decision was jointly made by most of the legislators involved, with assurance from the governor and others that the money would go through the capital outlay process to go back and do the Jimmie Davis Bridge in about a year. We still want to do both. It is still a high priority for us, big time,” said Walker.