Starting in late February or early March, the bridge most us call the Texas Street Bridge is going to be getting some long-needed love. The bridge, officially called the Long–Allen Bridge (named after governors Huey Long and Oscar K. Allen) opened in 1933. It is iconic, much used, loved and highly photographed. It is also old and in need of some paint and spackle (and lots more).
Yes, the work will likely create some bottlenecks, hopefully slight, for people who regularly use the bridge to come into and leave downtown Shreveport.
However, there are several big positives to the work. The much-cursed and routinely-avoided intersection of Spring and Texas in downtown Shreveport has finally gotten a left turn signal onto Spring Street northbound. The state Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) made the change to assist in traffic flow during the 430 calendar days of construction on the bridge. There is a possibility that this turn signal will remain after the construction, and we will be advocating for this. We believe it is long overdue for the reasons laid out in this KSLA News story.
Here’s the scoop on the bridge construction itself. LaDOTD says for most of the project (remember, 430 calendar days), one side of the bridge will be closed, so there will be only one lane of traffic flowing in each direction
instead of two. Work being done to the bridge include deck repairs, repairs to the steel structure, sandblasting and painting. Estimated completion is Summer 2020. The state will be sending out updates via MyDOTD, and you can sign up at www.dotd.la.gov for probably more updates than you want.
It is definitely one of those ‘short term pain for long term gain’ projects, and it has GOT to be done. This year, the bridge celebrates its 86th birthday and infrastructure doesn’t last forever. The other benefit of biting the bullet and doing it now is that once sandblasted and repainted, the iconic lighting (remember the Neon Bridge?) can be replaced. It won’t be neon, which has a shorter shelf life and doesn’t handle hailstorms, large trucks and bridge movement well, but instead cool LED lights that can change color according to event or month. Once completed, the Texas Street lighted bridge will once again become a highly-photographed symbol of the Shreveport-Bossier region.