Major parkway extension takes another step forward

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The Bossier City Council approved additional funding Tuesday that makes construction of a parkway extension closer to reality.

The council approved an ordinance appropriating $900,000 in supplemental funding for construction of the first phase of the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway. 

Tuesday’s vote will cover incidental costs. The council approved $10.7 million for the first phase of the construction in December. 

The carriageway is an extension of the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway north that will bypass railroad tracks and serve as a new route through the city.

The project will begin at U.S. 80, or East Texas Street, and utilize Old Benton Road, Hamilton Road, and defunct Union Pacific railway property to link up with Benton Road near Citizens Bank Drive. 

Three roundabouts will be built at Texas Street, Hamilton Road and Shed Road to allow drivers to enter and exit the roadway. A new road will be built on abandoned railway property, and an overpass will also be built over the Union Pacific railroad track north of Citizens Bank Drive.

The $55 million project will comprise of two phases. Phase 1 will extend the parkway from Traffic Street at the Texas Street Bridge to Old Benton Road. Phase 2 will run from there to Benton Road.

The project is expected to take 2.5 years to complete. Mayor Lo Walker told the Press-Tribune in January that he expects construction to begin in late 2019 and definitely “no later than 2020.”

City Engineer Mark Hudson said final project plans are expected to be delivered in April.

“It’s a big deal. We’ve been waiting on these for 18 years,” said Hudson.

The council last year approved using $17.4 million of bonds that are paid for by a previously approved sales tax to complete funding of the project.

The carriageway will be named after late state Rep. Walter O. Bigby, a Bossier City resident who served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 1979.