I-220 Extension Into Barksdale Air Force Base Groundbreaking

Posted: May 15, 2019, 2:59 PM

Local and state elected officials plus a large gathering of area supporters saw the first shovels of dirt turned on the future extension of I-220 into Barksdale Air Force Base, a roughly $90 million project that will finally give the base an entrance/exit onto I-20.

Officials predicted the economic impact of the project would be tremendous with easy access to businesses for residents on base, and access for many of the 14,000 employees at BAFB who live off base much easier. Air Force personnel who live off base and must be ready to respond quickly will find their drive-time cut significantly.

Once completed, some 16,000 acres east of the base’s primary operations areas will be open to future development, speakers said. BAFB sits on roughly 22,000 acres.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the project had been on the drawing boards for more than three decades but had been considered a priority by local officials for years. All that had been standing in the way was funding, an obstacle that was overcome with the use of creative financing and perseverance.

With Bossier City and Bossier Parish dedicating $3 million each to the project, plus another $12 million from the North Louisiana Council of Governments as seed money, the state came up with the remainder through GARVEE bonds. This project marks the first time the state has used the bonds.

GARVEE are special bonds that are repaid using federal funds allocated to Louisiana. Money dedicated to the project from Bossier City and Parish will be paid in installments of $250,00 annually for 12 years. NLCOG will pay $1 million a year for 12 years.

James Construction Group, LLC, was the contractor chosen from three design-build proposals invited to make presentations to the DOTD.

Each speaker noted that cooperation between governments on all levels has finally brought a decades-long dream to reality. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson said after years of waiting, it was impressive to see the speed at which the project moved to the ground-breaking stage.