Jimmie Davis Bridge Replacement Update
Any work seen at the Jimmie Davis Bridge now is all part of the design stage of the $361 million construction project.
Some recent site work at the Jimmie Davis Bridge raised hopes that construction could get underway in the foreseeable future, for the long-awaited construction of a new bridge. But it now appears that wishful thinking has turned out to be a false alarm.
According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development(LaDOTD), any work seen at the bridge is all part of the design stage of the $361 million construction project. The new four-lane bridge (LA 511) over the Red River will replace the two-lane structure that has connected south Shreveport to south Bossier City since 1968. Actual construction is not expected to start for at least a year from now, possibly longer according to LaDOTD.
This is just the latest chapter in what has become a decades-long guessing game on the fate of the half-century old bridge. For nearby residents and business owners alike, they’ve heard it all before about the Jimmie Davis bridge. Just ask the owner of Hester’s office solutions, an office furniture store a mile west of the Shreveport side of the bridge. Denny Hester says there have been so many different plans and proposals over the years for the Jimmie Davis Bridge it can be difficult to keep track.
The bridge will stay open for daily traffic during construction of the new bridge, which will soften the blow of any traffic troubles. Just across the street from Hester, over at Independence Motor Company, Mary Louise Stansell acknowledges the headaches ahead, even with the old bridge staying open. Jimmie Davis will still be right next to the massive, three-year-long bridge construction project, just north of the current bridge. Stansell says she also knows a new bridge is essential in the long run. “It will definitely change things a little bit, yes. But they have to start…I don’t know if it’s going to take away too much. It might slow a little bit of traffic down which could be a good thing, because this is like a speedway.” Stansell is referring to all the traffic on East 70th Street on the Shreveport side leading to the bridge.
Once the new bridge is completed, plans call for the old bridge to be turned into a linear park that will connect the existing bicycle and pedestrian trails across the Red River. At the east end of the bridge, Highway 511, known on the Bossier City side as the Jimmie Davis Highway, will be reconstructed from the bridge to Barksdale Boulevard [U.S. 71] into a four-lane, median-divided highway. It will provide a full-access interchange between LA 511 and Arthur Ray Teague Parkway [which runs parallel to the Red River].
But for now, we’re told not to expect any kind of construction for the replacement Jimmie Davis bridge until at least late next year or into 2025.