Gov. Edwards, local leaders break ground on I-20/I-220 BAFB Interchange Project
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 2:56:59 PM

BOSSIER CITY – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined the Dept. of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D. and numerous local and state leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the I-20/I-220 Barksdale Air Force Base Interchange project in Bossier City. The $71.8 million project will create a new access road into BAFB extending southward from the existing I-20/I-220 interchange.

“This particular project has been many years in the making, and we stand here today with all of the pieces having fallen into place through the perseverance of a team set on seeing this project come to fruition.” Gov. Edwards said. “Barksdale Air Force Base has been in this community for nearly 90 years, a pillar of both the nation’s security and the local and state economy. I couldn’t be more proud to celebrate this project today.”

With the support of Gov. Edwards, DOTD pursued approval of the Joint Transportation Committee to utilize the design-build method of project delivery. The design-build method can expedite project delivery by combining the design and construction phases.

The new road and gate will take into account projected population growth and increased traffic counts, serve to greatly enhance security, and will alleviate traffic congestion at other base entrance points. It will also improve access times for Barksdale employees and their families, providing easier commutes to schools and other local attractions.

“Breaking ground on this much-needed piece of infrastructure is a fantastic way to mark National Infrastructure Week, as we continue to seek innovative funding methods and stretch every dollar for use in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” said Dr. Wilson. “We’re connecting two heavily traveled interstates with one of the largest military installations in the nation. But we wouldn’t be celebrating this today without support from our local and federal partners, and the hard-working DOTD staff and consultants.”

The project has been a part of the State’s Transportation Master Plan for many years, and until recently, had no environmental clearance or funding source identified.

Following the January 2018 announcement of the state’s intention to utilize Grant Anticipation Revenue (GARVEE) bonds for the first time, the interchange project progressed at a rate not often experienced in the project development process. Over the course of a year and a half, seven phases in the process of moving this project from funding identification to contract signing were completed.
James Construction Group, LLC. was identified on February 5, 2019 as the successful proposer, with a notice to proceed issued on April 24, 2019 marking the official start of the project.

Funding commitments have been made by the City of Bossier, Bossier Parish, and local Metropolitan Planning Organization as well as public support from economic development groups in the region. The project was listed as the number one priority Mega Project by the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (MPO), noting the urgency and need for an improved access point for BAFB due to the base’s status as a critical asset.

“The Barksdale/I-220 entrance project enhances base security, improves access for personnel, and readies the base for future mission growth,” said Col. Michael Miller, 2nd Bomb Wing Commander, BAFB. “We’d like to thank our community and state partners who made this project happen on such a rapid timeline.”

“One of my distinct honors of working for the Fourth District is representing Barksdale Air Force Base, which plays a critical role in maintaining America’s military superiority and readiness,” said Congressman Mike Johnson. “I am proud to have worked with many great people in securing funding necessary to start this project and look forward to seeing all of the positive effects it will have for Barksdale and our community.”

This project and two other significant infrastructure projects are being funded through the state’s first issuance of GARVEE bonds, which are special bonds that are repaid using federal funds allocated to Louisiana. DOTD has received the three approvals required by the Legislature to begin to access these bonds.