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Work continues on new parish traffic corridor

Work is continuing on a new major north-south corridor for Bossier Parish residents.

Officials are currently designing a northern expansion of Swan Lake Road in Bossier that will connect the road just north of I-220 to Crouch Road in Benton, north east of where the road originally curves west toward Airline Drive.

Design work for the northern extension initially began about eight years ago. Butch Ford, Bossier Parish Engineer, said the Parish planned the northern extension before the City of Bossier made plans for the southern expansion, noting that the city paid for the extension project from I-220 south to Highway 80.

The northern extension will ultimately create a new north/south corridor for the central Bossier area, particularly those living on the east side of Cypress Lake. In doing so, Ford said the Parish hopes to alleviate some of the pressure and congestion on Airline Drive and Benton Road.

“Our segment will go north from I-220 and follow the existing roadway about three miles,” Ford explained. “It’s going to take out some of the curves and it will continue north where it currently turns west to meet Airline [Drive] and connect to Crouch Road.”

The need for an extension was identified in a comprehensive study by the City of Bossier City and Bossier Parish back in 2000. Ford said the initial results showed that they should expand Stockwell Road. However, it was changed to Swan Lake Road because Stockwell north is in a flood zone.

“It would have been much more expensive to do Stockwell so we just moved it over to Swan Lake,” Ford said.

The project is estimated to cost $24 million total. Ford said they were able to get federal funding to pay for 80-percent of the project, leaving the Parish to cover 20-percent of the cost.

The project will be divided into three phases over the next several years. The first phase will cost approximately $9 million for a mile and a half long expansion, starting at I-220 and moving north where the new Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning is under construction and W.T. Lewis Elementary School to the cemetery on the west side of Swan Lake.

“We’ve been working with the school board for the last 10 years. They work with us on placing the schools so I think they chose the location of those schools because of the plans to extend that roadway,” Ford said. “All of this is timely, but it takes a lot of time to get projects going. But it is coming together.”

Ford said the Parish is currently inquiring right of ways for the project, noting that the first phase right of ways should be purchased by November 2014.

“We’re working with the utility company about getting all the utilities moved with the anticipation of having the project out to bid in the second quarter of next year,” Ford said.

The second phase will pick up where phase one ends and is estimated to cost about $6 million. Ford said the plan is to do the second phase work in 2017.

The final phase will take the extension all the way to Crouch Road, which is estimated to cost between $12 million to $14 million. Ford said that project will be completed “in the future as funds become available.”

“We wish we could build the entire project at one time, but it’s just not feasible with the way the money is available,” Ford said.

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