NOW OPEN: Barksdale Air Force Base interchange

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the state’s Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), joined local officials Wednesday to officially open a stretch of the Barksdale Air Force Base interchange at the intersection of I-20/I-220.

Completion of the $80 million-plus project that runs from the interchange to the eastern section of the base will be a boost for the area economy and will provide additional security measures for Barksdale, Edwards told an overflow crowd at the event.

“This is a joint effort of many people that began as an idea years ago,” Edwards said. “It shows our commitment to northwest Louisiana and our military partners, and it proves we can make things happen.”

Wilson said he was happy the project was completed “…almost on time and almost in budget.” He also noted the project that will extend the interchange from its present terminus into the base has already been funded and a contractor has been selected.

Both Edwards and Wilson pointed out funding for the new entrance came from GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds and participation from local entities of Bossier City, Bossier Parish and the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG).

Bossier City and Bossier Parish each gave $3 million and NLCOG put up $6 million to support the project. The remainder came from the GARVEE investment bonds which are secured by transportation money from the federal highway trust fund.

Edwards said the I-20/I-220 Barksdale interchange was the first project in state funded with GARVEE bonds to be completed.

“We have other GARVEE funded projects underway in the state, but this is the first to be completed,” he said.