Smart. On top of the game. Razor sharp. Much needed. Huge Economic Win… Those are just a few of the terms I hear in my head when I think of the new interchange coming to I-20 at I-220 that will create a new access road into Barksdale Air Force Base. A new gate and point of access to Barksdale directly from the interstate, reducing traffic congestion and giving a quick and easy access to Barksdale from our nearby National Cyber Research Park.
Anything that benefits Barksdale benefits Bossier City. In fact, it benefits the entire northwest Louisiana region and state. And on May 14, ground is set to be broken and work will begin on this exciting project.
In a well deserved manner of recognition, at the May 1st Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting, the jury adopted two resolutions of appreciation recognizing State Senators Ryan Gatti and Barrow Peacock for their efforts in helping to “fast track” this project and quickly move it forward. I want to thank our senators for their hard work and efforts. And, thank you to all of our local, state, and federal elected officials and associated government entities for your efforts in helping this project to become a reality. We owe this huge win to some great and fast work by our local legislative delegation, the City of Bossier City, North Louisiana Council of Governments, and our state government (especially the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development).
This project, once completed in 2.5 years from now, will have been a somewhat lengthy process. However, to date, it has not been as lengthy as projects of this type usually tend to be.
A little less than two months ago, the State Bond Commission approved the first issuance for the GARVEE bonds, which will be used to build the new Barksdale Air Force Base entrance off I-20/220. This was the last step in funding our new Barksdale Interchange. Just a few days ago, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development signed the construction contract to begin work on this project.
At the end of last year, our news staff selected this project as one of our Top Stories of 2018 for the Press-Tribune. As we reported in that story, the approximate total cost of the project is $71.8 million. The local investment from the City of Bossier City and Bossier Parish is $ 3 million each ($6 million total). The state and local entities will repay the debt using the federal highway funds received each year over the course of 12 years. And, an additional $12 million will come from the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments/Metropolitan Planning Organization.
This is money well spent and an investment that surely needed to be made. In the decades to come, this investment will return exponential economic benefits in a multitude of ways for our entire region. Again, smart.
I look forward to celebrating everyone’s hard work and another example of Bossier’s progressiveness later this month. Now, let the project begin!
Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org