Progress made on Sligo Bridge, detour causing traffic headaches

WEB EXTRA: Vehicles run through stop signs

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Progress is being made to replace the Red Chute Bayou bridge, better known as the "Sligo Bridge," but in the meantime, the detour around it is causing traffic headaches for drivers.

Traffic is piling up on Caplis Sligo Road, the road being used as a detour and the traffic issues are reportedly being made worse by drivers not obeying road signs.

The bridge has been closed for months now, waiting to be replaced.

In the meantime, people have been trying to get used to the detour around it using Caplis Sligo Road, increasing traffic on the road from around 500 to 1,000 cars to 4,000 cars a day.

"This has just been a nuisance, I guess you'd call it, you'd have to come all the way around," says Randy Smith, who lives on Sligo Road.

With more cars on the road, as a safety precaution, Kansas City Southern Railway Company decided to post stop signs on either side of their railroad tracks with parish leader's support.

"I see more people blowing past the stop signs than anything," said South Bossier teenager Kaitlyn McDonald.

South Bossier teenagers even say stopping at the signs is nerve racking.

"Just because it is so busy and you are afraid you are going to get hit," said Makayla Anderson.

KSLA News 12 stood out at the stop signs and in 15 minutes saw some drivers obey the signs, others just yielded, but a majority never stopped at all.

"I stopped the other day, there was a guy behind me, and he was right up on my bumper," said Smith.

But there is some good news for the people tired of all of the traffic brought on by the detour. A Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) spokesman said the process to hire the contractors to replace the bridge started Tuesday.

DOTD has identified an apparent low bidder, but the chief engineer has to approve of the contractor.

The news that the process to replace the bridge has started came as a relief for Anderson.

"It is definitely a hassle, I'm definitely counting the days," she said.

Once the contractor is approved they will have about 30 days to present a plan and another 35 days for their assembly period, to gather materials, equipment and personnel.

The project duration is 250 days, weather permitting.

Some residents say they don't know if they need to stop at the signs if there isn't a train there. However, law enforcement officials say drivers do need to stop at stop signs or risk getting a citation.

DOTD is working with KCS to put up crossing arms at the railroad crossing in hopes of reducing the confusion.

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