Hwy LA 1 to benefit from $20 million project

Caddo Parish, LA (KSLA) - More than $20 million dollars in federal funds will be allocated to improve Caddo Parish roads and the goal is to help with everything from safety to economic development.

The project, which has been in the works for years, will mainly deal with a road that has needed some work by widening a 5-mile stretch of Highway One in North Caddo Parish between Highways 173 and 169.

So relief is on the way for thousands of travelers of take that road every day. But the estimated eleven-thousand drivers who travel along Highway 1 in North Caddo Parish know when the road narrows down to two lanes, north of Highway 173, that's when driving gets more dangerous.

"People go at high rates of speed and a lot of accidents have happened along this area," said Lisa England with Doug's Paint and Body Shop.

On Thursday, a pickup truck crashed into a tree off Highway 1, in this case just a bit north of the 5-mile stretch that will soon be widened from two to four lanes which is also the same stretch that saw a fatal crash of its own one week ago.

The widening all the way north to the intersection with Highway 169 is a relief to drivers and business owners.

"Yes, we've had people have accidents turning into our driveway. So, it's a dangerous highway," added England.

Drivers are the first to tell you that Caddo Deputies are also watching for speeding and ill-advised passing.

"Yes, yes, I've actually been pulled over for being accused of passing when it really wasn't me," said driver Henry Barhaas.

"Because it means that we're growing in north Shreveport. Maybe we'll get more businesses. We've always wanted a Walmart out there. Maybe we'll get Walmart," said England.

For others, the highway one widening is a long time coming.

"It's about time, they had the land and the right-of-way cleared off for so long it'd just seemed like a waste of money," said driver Ben Field.

Ben fields is among those who had all but given up on it, over the years. But that earlier work is exactly what made the project shovel ready and therefore, an obvious choice for the state to channel the 23- million dollars toward, all thanks to re-distributed federal funds.

Actual construction of that 5-mile stretch of Highway 1, in North Caddo Parish is expected to get underway this spring. It is expected to take about a year and a half to wrap up.