- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) - As many as 33,000 motorists will be forced to find another route when the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development shuts down the Jimmie Davis Bridge for painting and repairs next year.

Bids for the project go out this month.

“We’re excited about getting the bridge rehabbed. We know it’s going to be a pain and an inconvenience for motorists for the duration of the project, but it’s an important project. That bridge needs some love,” Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson told The Times (http://bit.ly/1EcKBzu ).

Louisiana DOTD is concerned about the safety of travelers and construction crews on the bridge with 12-foot lanes and two-foot shoulders.

Officials said between 21,500 and 33,000 vehicles use the Jimmie Davis Bridge every day. Those drivers feed directly into the always-busy Barksdale Boulevard, about 22,000 vehicles a day, and the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway, about 18,000 a day.

The closure will add as many as 18,000 more motorists Barksdale Boulevard and 15,000 more on the parkway every day.

A bottleneck is expected at the next-nearest crossing, the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge.

Hudson said the city traffic division will keep a close eye on both Barksdale Boulevard and the parkway, potentially adjusting signal timings to give more green lights to the main lines of vehicle flow.

The project is expected take approximately one year to complete. Once the project begins, a complete closure of the bridge will be required so crews can perform work safely and quickly.

It will cost $20 million to $30 million.

The Jimmie Davis Bridge was built in 1968.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com

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