Shreveport Highway Environment Study Stalled By Lawsuits

Mon November 25, 2013 - Southeast Edition
CEG



SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) Transportation planners say an extension of an expressway is being held up by lawsuits filed by groups who say they support the road.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is ready, The Times reported to start an environmental impact study on extending La. 3132 from its current end at Flournoy Lucas Road to the Port of Caddo-Bossier.

But a group including the Finish 3132 Coalition and Willis-Knighton Health Systems sued last year. Two suits have been consolidated in state court, while a third is pending in federal court.

“We have a contract ready to go for Stage 1; but because of all the litigation, we haven’t been able to get going,’’ said Kent Rogers, executive director of the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments.

Lawyer Billy Pesnell said his clients want the state to build the highway across part of the Esplanade subdivision being built by developer Tim Larkin.

“What we’re trying to do is get the Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration to build a road on what we consider to be the most appropriate alignment or route from Flournoy Lucas to the port, which is across a portion of the subdivision which Mr. Larkin is building,’’ Pesnell said.

The first lawsuit, filed Sept. 4, 2012, contends the state withheld that route from its study of potential corridors.

“They never disclosed it,’’ Pesnell said. “The most western route initially recommended would have taken the Esplanade bridge over Bayou Pierre. They kept moving it east until they got it right up against Twelve Oaks subdivision — with two compound curves.’’

A lawsuit filed Nov. 19 sought to stop construction of a service road into that same development. Caddo District Judge Leon Emmanuel ruled that construction could proceed, a decision upheld by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal.