Home News-Free COALITION SECURES FUNDING TO PLAN HIGHWAY PRESERVATION

COALITION SECURES FUNDING TO PLAN HIGHWAY PRESERVATION

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The SAVE 537 COALITION thanks State Rep. Raymond Crews and all our legislative supporters for helping to obtain $25,000 in State funding to explore ways to keep LA 537 in Bossier Parish from being closed due to Red River erosion.

In the Legislative session just ended, Rep. Crews obtained funding for the Bossier Parish Police Jury to contract with an engineering firm to analyze the river erosion and suggest low-cost methods to control it. Sen. Gregory Tarver, Rep. Danny McCormick and other local legislators provided assistance.

“We had bipartisan support,” said Holly Hollenshead, Coalition founder and cattle rancher in the Wardview Bottoms area of northwest Bossier Parish. “LA 537 is critical infrastructure for the families, farmers, commuters and outdoor enthusiasts who use this road on a daily basis.”

The focus turns now to the Police Jury, which earlier this year acknowledged the erosion threatening LA 537 and called for state and federal efforts to address it. Hollenshead said the Coalition will work with the Jury to select and supervise a consulting engineer to analyze the erosion and devise ways to control it.

“Our goal is to have a professionally drawn plan to stop or slow the river’s march to the east and toward LA 537,” Hollenshead said. “We believe there are low-cost ways to do that, but we need a professional engineering firm with river experience to confirm our beliefs.”

Hollenshead said the push to save LA 537 is in line with the national discussion about repairing America’s infrastructure.

“Our local, state and national leaders are recognizing that, as our infrastructure goes, so go our communities and our economy. Rural places like Wardview Bottoms, Plain Dealing and northern Bossier Parish cannot survive without passable roads, stable bridges and other vital infrastructure. We have to maintain what we have to survive and grow.”

A deep eastward bend in the Red River at Wardview Bottoms is eroding land and bringing the main channel of the river to within roughly 100 feet of LA 537 at No. 1 Ditch tributary. Without urgent efforts to control the river’s eastward march, the highway will have to close in a short period of time.

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