New Bossier City roads making progress

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Several new road or current road expansions are making progress in Bossier City.

City Engineer Mark Hudson told the Bossier City Council during its regular meeting Sept. 18 that the extension of Innovation Drive that would turn it into a relief road for Airline Drive is getting closer.

He said the public comment period recently closed with no major issues.

“Emails I’ve got from the (US Army Corps of Engineers) say there have been a few comments in-house. Not sure what they are, but we’ll address those,” Hudson said.

Innovation Drive was created initially as a driveway built by the Bossier Parish School Board to connect Swan Lake Road to the Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovation Learning (BPSTIL). The city furthered the length of that street and is preparing for phase 2 of the extension, which would take it from Swan Lake Road to run parallel to Airline Drive and connect with the current terminus of Greenacres Boulevard.

Due to wetlands occupying some of the area of this proposed project, the city obtained the assistance of the United States Army Corp of Engineers. While these areas provide habitats for numerous species they also serve to collect waters that would otherwise flood and erode land that is not equipped for heavy rainfall. The Corps will seek to relocate and replicate these areas.

He then forecasted when the next major step would get underway.

He said the city can start bidding the wetland mitigation portion of the project, which would take a month, and then the project would go to bid. But he expects it to be early next year.

“Looking in my crystal ball…I think it’s going to be about January when we open bids on Innovation Drive,” Hudson said.

The anticipated expansion of Viking Drive between Swan Lake Road and Airline Drive is beginning to take shape.

The plan is to five-lane the road to allow for a better flow of traffic.

Hudson said the environmental review is finished. Plans are 60 percent finished and the engineering department should have the right of way maps by the end of October.

“That way we can initiate the purchase of all the additional right of way we need for the widening of Viking Drive,” Hudson said.

The drawn out widening of Shed Road is finally getting close to the finish line.

“We’re getting closer. Three weeks ago we restored three lanes of traffic in front of Cascio’s (restaurant),” said Hudson.

He said he expects it to wrap up the first week of October.

“Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong,” Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson told the council in July.

The project to change the portion between Benton Road and Airline Drive from two lanes to four has been a thorn in the sides’ of residents and businesses since it work began in late 2016. It was only exacerbated after it was delayed at the start of this year.

At that meeting, Councilman Jeff Darby said residents had brought water outage issues to his attention and asked for similar incidents to be prevented in the future.

“I sympathize with residents. They have been inconvenienced way longer than they should have been,” Hudson told Darby.

Attention has also been drawn to the entrance of the municipal complex.

The condition of POW/MIA Drive off Benton Road has raised the concerns of the council.

“It’s getting pretty bad. And it’s looking so bad we might want to rebuild it sometime soon,” Hudson admitted.

“Money’s not appropriated for it. I always thought money is better spent on streets for the public than our own, but the public uses that too. The drive on the way out of here is getting pretty bad. We need to look more at that,” he said.