LaDOTD unveiling Jimmie Davis Bridge project details - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

LaDOTD unveiling Jimmie Davis Bridge project details

The Louisiana highway department is holding an open house-style gathering about the Jimmie Davis Bridge from 5 to 7 p.m. May 25 at Barksdale Baptist Church, 1714 Jimmie Davis Hwy. in Bossier City. (Source: KSLA News 12) The Louisiana highway department is holding an open house-style gathering about the Jimmie Davis Bridge from 5 to 7 p.m. May 25 at Barksdale Baptist Church, 1714 Jimmie Davis Hwy. in Bossier City. (Source: KSLA News 12)
A public meeting May 25 will focus on options for using Jimmie Davis Bridge as a pedestrian crossway and will include further discussion about the possibility of charging a toll on the replacement span to be built over Red River. (Source: KSLA News 12) A public meeting May 25 will focus on options for using Jimmie Davis Bridge as a pedestrian crossway and will include further discussion about the possibility of charging a toll on the replacement span to be built over Red River. (Source: KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

The public got its first chance to see and hear the latest plans for the Jimmie Davis Bridge on Thursday night. 

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) held the open house-style gathering at Barksdale Baptist Church in Bossier City. Several people we met were not fans of the open house format.

"I'm disappointed in the meeting that somebody's not actually explaining something up front and just making us try to figure it out for ourselves 'cause I'm totally confused," said local resident Candy Roby.

The project calls for construction of a four-lane bridge between Shreveport and Bossier City and converting the existing two-lane span over Red River into a pedestrian crossing.

The traffic bridge will be erected just north of the pedestrian span.

"I hope we can see it in our lifetime, something," said a smiling and only half-joking Glenda Conradi, who attended the public meeting with her husband Bernie.

They're not alone. Republican State Senator Peacock told us that he too is frustrated by the slow pace of the project after being told bids may not go out until 2020.

"It's just inexcusable to have this process to drag out as long as it is," said Senator Peacock.

Officials estimate the total cost of the project to be somewhere between $80-to-100 million. While $23 million in state funding is already in place, paying the entire bill has led to the idea of possibly installing a toll road on the bridge.

State officials say there has been no decision yet on whether to charge a toll on the new bridge to help pay for it. 

But just the mention of a toll made some bristle at the idea. That included Patrick Walsh who told us, "We pay taxes to pay for this stuff. I don't think we should have to pay a toll to go across."

"I don't think it should be a toll. Some of us cross that bridge half a dozen times a day, you know," added fellow attendee Archie Hardy.

Sen. Peacock was also not happy about the idea of a toll bridge, telling us, "A toll is unacceptable and I'll tell you why. This is an existing crossing."

Peacock promised to speak out about the toll idea and the slow schedule, in hopes of changing both. 

What's called an Environmental Assessment, or E-A, is required for federal funding of such a project. It was originally completed for the bridge renovation plan that was scrapped last year in favor of a new bridge.

That new plan requires a supplemental E-A study. That's now underway and is expected to wrap up by this fall according to a DOTD spokesperson.

We're told this meeting was part of that process, to allow the public to make comments and suggestions.

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