By The Associated Press
August 13, 2012
SHREVEPORT — Construction of a second bridge parallel to the two-lane Jimmie Davis Bridge will have to wait, but repairs to the existing span over the Red River are in the works.
An amendment in the state Legislature’s capital outlay bill allocating $1.3 million to begin repairs is set to go before the State Bond Commission in September.
If approved, the allocation would fund engineering and other early-stage costs for the renovation of the bridge.
“This is a first start to get the Jimmie Davis Bridge back in shape,” said state Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City. “They can start doing planning and engineering and next year move more money into it.”
An additional $9.2 million for the remainder of the project was listed as “priority five” in the state’s capital outlay budget, which means funding should come in the future.
The La. 2 bridge near Plain Dealing was used as the example of how much funding would be needed, since it was constructed about the same time as the Jimmie Davis Bridge and was rehabilitated several years ago. Plans include lighting, painting and resurfacing of the bridge.
Peacock originally sought $119 million to fund revamping the Jimmie Davis Bridge and construction of a second bridge to parallel the existing one, effectively creating four lanes for traffic.
But with Interstate 69 in the works, a bridge could be built farther south near the Port of Caddo-Bossier and later used as the interstate’s crossing over the Red River.
Piers for the Jimmie Davis Bridge were completed in December 1965 at cost of $710,000. The site for the bridge was chosen because it was the only section of river bank deemed by state traffic engineers sufficiently stable to support the structure.
An expropriation lawsuit held up construction, and the bridge opened to motorists in 1968.
The span was designed to carry 13,500 vehicles per day. According to a Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development count, it carried more than 24,000 vehicles per day in 2010.