By Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bossier City officials are looking for a way to let residents maneuver safely between major retailers on Airline Drive.
The Bossier City Council will decide next week on authorizing the acquisition of property to provide two cross-access drives at Walmart Supercenter and Kroger Marketplace on the busy thoroughfare.
City Attorney Jimmy Hall advised the council at their July 9 agenda meeting that he has a letter from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) supporting the construction of an access drive between the two stores.
Traffic volumes on Airline Drive have steadily increased year after year, creating congestion especially during peak times, and making entering and exiting the businesses difficult for motorists.
“If you drive Airline Drive, like I do every day, it’s a nightmare and anything you can do to relieve it is a benefit,” Hall said. “In my opinion, it’s a well worthwhile project.”
Hall added that he doesn’t believe adding access drive will negatively impact the stores’ sales.
“I think they will actually do better,” Hall said. “I think we can accomplish this, but we are going to have to use some authority to do that.”
Councilman Thomas Harvey provided the council on traffic accident statistics that have occurred near Kroger and Walmart in recent years.
“It’s just ridiculous in the number of accidents that we have between Melrose Avenue and George Dement Boulevard. These stats go from November to November, so 2018 is not completed until November of this year. So far, we have 59 accidents. In 2017 there were 76 accidents, 83 in 2016, and 35 the first year before they opened,” said Harvey.
In March, DOTD 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 DOTD 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.
Further discussions regarding this matter will be held at the next City Council Meeting, July 16 at 3 p.m.