Family, officials remember Bigby with special groundbreaking ceremony

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The Bigby family and local officials joined May 17 for the official groundbreaking of the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com,

It was an emotional day May 17 for the family of Walter O. Bigby as they celebrated his legacy with the groundbreaking for the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway project.

The carriageway is named after late state Rep. Walter O. Bigby, who lived in Bossier City and served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 1979. He died in 1980.

With humbled gratitude, Walter Bigby, Jr. spoke passionately to the audience about his late father’s modest beginnings in life and how much he and his family appreciate the hard work that has gone into the project.

“It’s unbelievable that this is happening, coming out here today for the groundbreaking of the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway, it gives me goosebumps saying that. My father came from modest beginnings, so I know the name of this project being named after him would be so comforting to him as it is to me and my family. I know my mother would also be humbled, proud and very pleased,” said Bigby, Jr. “There has not been a day since Jan. 2, 1980 that I haven’t thought of my dad. It’s very humbling knowing 39 years after his death that a road in his own hometown is going to be named after him. Today is a very proud day for me and my family.” 

Hayden Bigby, grandson of Walter O. Bigby, spoke about his grandfather’s legacy, saying he will follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and graduate from LSU Law School.

“Everything that I have learned about him has been a bit of a beacon for me to follow. It’s how I want to be remembered and how I want to be thought of. A week from today, 67 years after my grandfather, I will also graduate from LSU Law (School) and I hope to continue following in his footsteps and continue to earn that reputation. Thank you to everyone for making this possible,” said Hayden.

The carriageway will run north from Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. Once the project is complete, the roadway system will allow commuters to travel from south to north Bossier City without being stopped by a train. 

Best Yet Contractors was awarded the low bid of $10.9 million to begin the first phase of construction. 

The $50 million project will use U.S. 80 in downtown Bossier to begin the new route, which will utilize Old Benton Road, Hamilton Road, abandoned Union Pacific railway property and roundabouts to get travelers from East Texas Street to Benton Road.

Three roundabouts will be created at E. Texas Street, Hamilton Road and Shed Road to allow drivers to get on and off the extension.

A new road will be built on abandoned railway property, eventually running alongside existing Union Pacific Railroad. An overpass will be built over the railroad track north of Citizens Bank Drive, ending at Benton Road.