I have a dark sense of humor. Some people find it off putting, others find it endearing. A joke I make in that vein is based on the Shed Road project. I often ask people in the know, “What will be done first: Shed Road or Swan Lake Road north of I-220?”
Is it funny? Well, you won’t even get the joke unless you have been keeping up with the trouble plaguing an effort to expand about a mile of road connecting Bossier City’s two main thoroughfares.
I will say, when Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson gives his monthly project report to the city council, the inevitable news of another delay on Shed Road is met with a wry smile and receives sarcastic laughs.
I’m not sure what you can do but laugh. The fact that it’s still potentially a mid-July opening, at best, is pretty farcical. The impression I receive in the peanut gallery is that the project is doomed, cursed, haunted. etc.
The truth is, when the project began about three years ago, most business owners and residents along the road knew it would not be a quick and easy job. Progress never is. However, what they didn’t foresee is just how long it would go on and the numerous setbacks that would pop up.
Originally slated to be completed in January 2018, it was revealed in late May that the road would still be “six or seven weeks” before it was fully opened.
What’s definitely not funny is how it has hurt the businesses along the road. The latest development prompted Tony Forrest, owner of Cascio’s Market Bistro, to approach the council at their June 4 meeting and reveal that even though the road is very close to open, it has decimated his business with little to no foot traffic because of diners avoiding the construction zone. Forrest has been vocal throughout the construction, urging the city to try and complete it as soon as possible.
The most recent delay is caused by the need to sand down the road’s rough finish. Previously, other delays were namely weather related. But there have been broken water mains that were damaged and had to be replaced, and even state contractors who supply materials for the project going out of business.
Hudson has called the widening a “problem child” and noted that “everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” From comments on our stories regarding the project, we see that many residents believe the city workers are sitting on their hands. I’m almost sure that’s not the case.
But that type of belief gets back to my joke — When you look at what the parish has done on a much longer stretch with more pitfalls to navigate, it makes for a humorous comparison.
But in the end, it truly appears that this project is something that has hit every snag possible. From what I know, I don’t blame the city. But it’s still not a joke for those suffering along Shed Road. All we can do is hope for smooth sailing from here on out and that it opens the sooner, the better.
Sean Green is editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org