By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
While Shed Road lingers into its third year of construction, the partners on the project disagree about who needs to step up to complete it.
During the Bossier City Council’s June 4 meeting, Cascio’s Market Bistro Owner and Operator Tony Forrest asked for help from the city in completing the project as quickly as possible.
“We took a thriving business and turned it into nothing with this Shed Road project…I’m losing a fortune every month,” Forrest said.
Bossier Mayor Lo Walker said he would contact state officials for answers.
“I’ll call (Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development) District 4 Engineer David North and talk to him about it. And if that’s not satisfactory, I’ll call Secretary (Dr. Shawn) Wilson,” Walker said. “What I understand is that this is a state contract, and they are the ones that have to take corrective action.”
However, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) officials argue that the onus is on Bossier City.
“This is not a joint endeavor, meaning this is a City of Bossier City project,” said Erin Buchanan, local DOTD spokersperson. “DOTD’s involvement comes into play in that there is federal money being used for this project, so it went to bid through DOTD, which is required by law. Other than that, oversight is left to the City as it is their project.”
Bossier City spokesperson Traci Landry echoed Walker’s notion that the Shed Road project is a joint endeavor between DOTD and City of Bossier City, and that the DOTD contract puts the onus on state officials.
“While the project is a joint endeavor by the State and Bossier City, it is under a State DOTD contract. Therefore, any corrective action on construction would have to be taken by the State,” Landry said in an emailed statement. “Mayor Walker made a phone call to LA DOTD early last week to ensure that the project is moving forward. He will remain in close contact with the State until construction on Shed Road is complete.”
According to Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson, the project is still about three weeks away from completion.
Drivers and businesses along Shed Road have been dealing with construction to widen the road between Airline Drive and Benton Road since June 2016.
The project has had several issues, from bad weather and new water mains that were damaged and had to be dug up and replaced, to state-approved contractors going out of business and leaving materials in limbo.
All of the delays have prevented the $9.5 million project from meeting its originally forecasted completion of January 2018.