We should be seeing some lengthy road projects either wrap up or get underway this summer.

One project that will affect a lot of local residents is construction on the Jimmie Davis Bridge. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development spokeswoman Cindy Dorfner says this work has been delayed a couple of times.

"There have been a few delays, contractor-requested, mostly. One of them was the federally-protected Barn Swallows, and that was an issue," Dorfner said. "Our folks have really had to be aggressive on keeping those birds away. And the good thing is, as long as we can catch them before they complete their nest and lay eggs in them, we're allowed to move those nests."

She said once the birds lay eggs, that's going to be a problem, but crews are doing everything they can to keep that from happening.

The final assembly period for the bridge project will end May 1, and work should start May 2 to prep each side of the bridge before it's shut down. Dorfner said it's been the plan the whole time to do several months of work before the bridge is closed down for 365 calendar days. We will have at least a month of advance notice before the lengthy bridge closure.

Dorfner also updated us on several other DOTD projects:

Murphy Street Bridge

"They have poured the bridge deck, and they're working on the tie-ins on each end of the bridge -- the fencing, the handrails -- and then they'll have to do some miscellaneous stuff. So they have about a month left. But if you look at it right now, it looks pretty much like a bridge."

She said she hasn't heard a whole lot of complaints about the length of time the bridge has been shut down, but she knows it has been an inconvenience for a lot of folks, like Shreveport police officers and employees at Sun Furniture who would normally take that route to work.

The contractor has had issues with the bridge being over railroad tracks, so efforts had to be coordinated with the railroad.

U.P. Railroad Bridge in Greenwood

"They're getting really close to being done. They haven't been working for a little while. The only thing they had left to do was pour the approach slabs, and then build their barrier rail.

 

In order to build those approach slabs, they had to send in soil samples and get those approved. So they were going back and forth on the soil samples, but they've finally gotten those approved, and they're working on pouring the approach slabs now. So they should be done pretty soon."

Because that bridge is over Cross Bayou, flooding in March also caused some significant delays for that project.

Sligo Road

"What I can tell you for sure is that they have about two and a half months of solid work left. Those are working days. I'm not saying they have two and a half months from now, and the bridge is gonna open.

 

They have to be able to work for those two and a half months. And, of course, they don't work seven days a week. They do take the weekends and the holidays off. We were hoping for May, but because of the flooding and the time it's taken for the water to go down, it looks like it's probably gonna be some time in late summer."

Dorfner said it's the side where the convenience store is that workers are having trouble with, because the water is still too high. The bridge was already in need of replacement before flooding last summer caused it to erode and crumble.

According to Dorfner, the good thing about the new bridge is that the pilings aren't timber like the old ones, and they're further apart, so they won't be able to catch the drift as much. She said this one should last a good 50 years.

Youree Drive/Kings Highway

"It's gone really well. Those guys are out there knocking it out, but there's still a good way to go. We think by the time Jimmie Davis is shut down, the Kings Highway portion of the Shreveport-Barksdale/Kings intersection is going to be completely open. They're doing really well on that.

 

As long as people who cross Shreveport-Barksdale go onto Kings, they shouldn't have any problems. If they get up to the Youree/Kings intersection, that's where it's gonna snarl up a little bit."