Walter O. Bigby Carriageway Phase 1 completion discussed at Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting

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Construction on the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway in Bossier City. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune

At Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting, the council approved a motion to introduce an ordinance appropriating 1.2 million dollars from the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway Fund to fund the completion of Phase I of the Water O. Bigby Carriageway.

At-Large Councilman and Council President David Montgomery asked Manchac Group’s and Bossier City engineer, Ben Rauschenbach, to give a summary to the council regarding the ordinance.

“So, there was an ordinance here last month for a little over $400,000, that encompassed work associated with all of the old water mains and connecting those up to the new main. And another pot of money for an unforeseen subsurface burial of debris around where the roundabout is. I met with Best Yet and Beast Engineering last week to get a tally and get a feel, kinda get immersed in the project and began seeing some problems with the funding. Where they were and where we were headed,” said Rauschenbach.

Rauschenbach continued, “so the ordinance before you will not only take care of what’s been spent to date, beyond what was in the original contract but also kind of looks into the crystal ball as to what’s coming down the pike based on everything they’ve seen. The intent of the ordinance is to make the project whole. And to not come back again until we reconcile the project at the end and have a final tally of all the quantities put in.”

The carriageway will serve as a northern parkway extension that, when completed, will help alleviate traffic and allow commuters to drive through Bossier City without ever being stopped by a train.

The $50 million project will use U.S. 80 in downtown Bossier to begin the new route, which will utilize Old Benton Road, Hamilton Road, abandoned Union Pacific Railway property and roundabouts to get travelers from Texas to Benton Road.

Roundabouts will be created to allow drivers to get on and off the extension.

A new road will be built on abandoned railway property, eventually running alongside the existing Union Pacific railroad. An overpass will also be built over the Union Pacific railroad track north of Citizens Bank Drive, and the extension will end at Benton Road.

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

In 1988, a room hallway at the Louisiana House of Representatives was named after Bigby, who was also selected by The Times in 1999 as one of the 100 most influential people of Northwest Louisiana over the past century. He died in 1980.

Before concluding the council meeting, Bossier City Mayor “Lo” Walker addressed the council to bring them up to speed with the information he just received with regards to COVID-19.

“As we know it’s extremely bad and has gotten worse. All the trends are in the wrong direction in terms of positive results and hospitalizations. For example here in Bossier Parish in the last 5 days, we’ve had an increase of 460 just in the last five days; which is the largest jump since we’ve been tracking. That brings our total number of cases up to just over 1,602. Unfortunately, we’ve had 11 more deaths. Which brings our total to date up to 47.

Because this is not getting better, the governor announced just prior to this meeting that he would be signing a proclamation in a couple days that we will stay in Phase 2 for two more weeks. Or up to Friday, Aug. 7. It’s incumbent on all of us to keep doing just what we’re doing right now,” said Walker.