Shed Road construction back on track, more under way

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Work on Shed Road in Bossier City got back underway in April after a delay. (photo by Scott Anderson/Press-Tribune)

Progress is being made on road projects in Bossier City after some delays, according to city officials.

Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson presented updates on road projects, three currently under construction, at the March 20 Bossier City Council meeting.

When it comes to Shed Road, Hudson said the issues is clear.

“You’ve got one question: When are we going to be finished?,” he told the council members.

Hudson acknowledged that this project has not gone well. It is a 415 working-day contract with Fessler and Bowman. He some unforeseen problems have delayed progress.

“The good news is we’re back on track,” he said. “The business owners there are happy to see finally something happening.”

Hudson said Fessler and Bowman estimated the project would be finished in January 2019, but the field supervisor on the project told him it could be October of this year. The contract is set to expire in September, Hudson said. He told commissioners the contractor is penalized $975 a day for every day past the expiration of the contract.

Hudson said the Ball Park Drive project at Tinsley Park is almost complete. It provides an additional 275 parking spaces at the Tinsley Park ballfields and a new public street. The new road will open the area to more commercial development as well as improve traffic flow in and out of Tinsley Park.

“I have no doubt people are going to appreciate it after ballgames,” he said. “I hear it’s hard to get in and out of the park, and this is another way to do that.”

Wemple Road also is under construction right now, Hudson said. This project will rebuild Wemple Road back to Lakewood Subdivision, with three lanes of asphalt, underground drainage and concrete curb and gutter. This project was identified when city officials thought Walmart was going to build at Wemple Road and Airline Drive. While that project did not materialize, Hudson said the road improvements still open the area to future development.

Hudson credited Best-Yet Construction with keeping the project on track despite challenges.

“The contract time was about four months,” he said. “You know we lost most of February due to rain.They are a can-do company, so some day soon we’ll be driving on that.”

Hudson said a right-hand turn pocket at Browlnee Road and Airline Drive has been designed and will be built this summer. Councilman Tommy Harvey, who suggested the project, said it is much needed.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is designing a turn lane at the intersection of U.S. 71 and Sunflower that was suggested by Councilman Scott Irwin. Hudson said there will not be a signal at that intersection. “That will make that intersection about as good as we can make it,” he said.

Hudson said plans are in the works to make Coleman Street similar to Barksdale Boulevard in downtown through the East Bank District. He said that when the city adopted Barksdale Boulevard from the state, the city received more than $1.3 million for similar projects. That’s the money that will be used to add landscaping, new street lights and other improvements to Coleman Street. He said that project will start in 2019.

Design work is about 60 percent complete on a proposed three-lane concrete rebuild of Viking Drive from Airline Drive to Swan Lake Road, similar to the span between Benton Road and Airline Drive, Hudson said. Right-of-way acquisitions are expected later this summer, with about 30 parcels to be purchased. Hudson expects bids to be let in 2019.

A small section of Innovation Drive has been completed off of Swan Lake Road to accommodate access to Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning and the new Holmes Honda dealership. Phase Two of this project will extend the road to Greenacres Boulevard and Miciotto Lane. The roadway has been designed to avoid wetlands and flood-prone areas. Those area could be developed, provided improvements are made by the developers. But that’s not up to the city, Hudson said.

“We’re going to build the street, and that’s what we’re in for right now,” Hudson said.

The Walter O. Bigby Carriageway is being designed with one primary purpose — a bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks that would touch down at Benton Road. The project also includes improvements to Hamilton Lane and Shed Road to Benton Road. Plans for this project are due in October, Hudson said.