Bossier City Council passes first reading of Airline Drive Traffic Relief Project

Bossier City Council passes first reading of Airline Drive Traffic Relief Project

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The Bossier City Council voted unanimously to pass the first reading of the $6 million second phase of the Airline Drive Traffic Relief project.

That project involves building a relief road behind Airline Drive's big box stores. The first $7 million phase of the new road was approved last year and is already being built.

The first phase stretches from Viking Drive to the now under construction George Dement Drive, which will lead into the new shopping district going in between Home Depot and Walmart. Kroger Marketplace will anchor the high-end shopping center that will include Hobby Lobby, Panda Express and Panera Bread.

The second phase would extend the traffic relief road south from George Dement Drive to Douglas and Plantation Drive, which currently are dead end roads.

Last week District 5 Councilman Thomas Harvey said he would vote against the plan, if it involved Douglas Drive. He said he didn't want to bring more traffic to the residential side of Douglas Drive.

"If they take Douglas Drive outside of the equation and don't extend it to the relief road then I would support it," said Harvey at the January 13 meeting.

But Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson responded saying the point of including Douglas Drive is because it has a signalized intersection.

Harvey suggested moving the signal from Douglas to Plantation Drive and not connecting Douglas at all to the traffic relief road.

"I'll vote against it, as it stands now," Harvey said at that meeting.

However, Tuesday afternoon, Harvey voted for the plan explaining his vote is on the entire project and not just that single traffic light.

Several people living on Douglas Drive attended the meeting and spoke up about their concerns.

"We don't want increased traffic on Douglas Drive, it's already a speedway," said Douglas Drive resident Tiffani Remedies.

"They are going to come to Douglas Drive, so therefore they are going to be all bogged up in that congested area," said Sara Gregg, who has lived on Douglas Drive since 1958.

At least one resident told the council he felt widening Douglas Drive and extending it to the relief road was a good idea, but suggested adding a left turn lane on the neighborhood side.

Before the vote, the city attorney explained that the final project deadline is 2016 and the money would need to be appropriated now to meet that deadline with Kroger and the Department of Transportation and Development.

Though Harvey voted for the plan as is, he still requested the mayor look into asking again to have the signalized traffic signal on Douglas Drive be moved to Plantation Drive in order to remove Douglas Drive from the equation.

Mayor Lo Walker obliged, however he expressed his doubts the DOTD would grant that request, referencing how tough it was to get a signal at the entrance of the Kroger Marketplace at the intersection of the new George Dement Boulevard and Airline Drive.

The final reading of this measure will be on the agenda in two weeks when the city council votes on the issue again.

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