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Parish to focus on roads, bridges & water in 2019

The Vanceville Road bridge that was rehabbed in 2018.

Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus said the main priorities for 2019 are pretty simple — bridges, roads, water, and sewer.

“With the growth in the parish, we have to try to match it. It’s hard to do because you’re always behind the curve. You need that infrastructure there, but we can’t afford to put things in the ground and then nothing happen with it,” Altimus said. “We have a good idea of developers’ timeframes and we try to accommodate that the best we can.”

The Police Jury asked Parish Engineer Butch Ford and the staff to put together an infrastructure package last year. The jury approved the ability to pursue the capability to borrow funds to support this package in mid-2018. 

The parish is also working through FEMA to get roads repaired from the recent floods. Altimus said it’s $25M the parish is looking at to repair those roads.

“That’s significant and we’ve got to pursue it to the bitter end,” he explained.

Altimus said he believes there will be some recommendations to acquire some right of way in the north and the south of the parish to preserve two corridors for additional road capacity in the future. 

In the Kingston Road area, the parish will obtain two parcels of land from the Bossier Parish School Board for parks. Two acres in front of the elementary school will comprise a park and an additional seven to eight acres will form a linear park along the bayou that is located parallel to the main road going into the schools there.

“There is a lot of demand in that area from those subdivisions to have some space. It’s narrow but long. We plan to put in tables and a walking trail to allow people to bike and walk in a scenic area,” Altimus said. “A lot of people will use that park, we’re working to make sure access from all those different subdivisions is safe with a traffic light and putting in crosswalks.”

Altimus also revealed that the Bossier Parish Libraries purchased land near Joe Delaney Park on Friday, Jan. 11 for a new library location. He said the existing library in the town is very small compared to the use and need there. 

“The Haughton area is really growing and a new library is needed to match that demand. In the next Census, Haughton will have enough people to move to a city status so it won’t be the ‘Town of Haughton’ anymore,” he said.

Other priorities include redoing the security package at the parish’s maximum security facility. Altimus said that over time, the equipment that was state of the art when it was installed becomes difficult to maintain because it is not supported due to issues in obtaining parts or companies have gone out of business. 

“The jury has had some professionals in to make recommendations and what needs to happen there,” he said. “That’s going to be a big number and we’re going to have to do it. It’s part of our obligation to maintain facilities for juveniles and adult prisoners.”

In the parks area, the jury just had a water well installed at the Parish Camp and will install new bathrooms and an additional launching ramp. 

The parish is finishing up improvements to the Heath Unit, including functionality, looks, and maintenance. Professionals are also looking at making improvements to the Johnny Gray Jones Youth Shelter.