by John Settle
This primer is intended to set forth known facts about the proposed 3132 Inner Loop Extension, as of July 20th 2011. Hopefully, this will serve not only as an educational tool, but also a point of reference for further evaluations of the unfolding events in this saga of government planning “gone wrong.” Please read on…
- Flournoy Lucas Road is a state highway, and any curb-cuts must be approved by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and the City of Shreveport.
- 3132 Inner Loop is a state funded connector that presently extends from Bert Kouns Industrial Loop to Flournoy Lucas Rd. It was intended to be a facilitator of traffic around Shreveport, and it was originally planned to tie into LA 1 south of Flournoy Lucas Road.
- Flournoy Lucas Road between Ellerbe Road and LA 1 is primarily residential, with several retirement communities located along this five lane corridor: The Glen, Azalea Gardens and The Oaks of Louisiana.
- Many trucks headed to the Port of Shreveport/Bossier and trucks servicing the natural gas industry from LA 1 now travel Flournoy Lucas to connect to or from the 3132 Inner Loop, rather than the former route of Bert Kouns Industrial Loop.
- A 1996 Shreveport bond issue set aside $3.5 million to help extend the Inner Loop/Highway 3132 south of Flournoy Lucas Road. Funds were spent on engineering work and matching with state money to build 3132 between Bert Kouns Industrial Loop and Flournoy Lucas. The remaining $498,000 dollars has recently been dedicated by the Shreveport City Council to the extension of 3132.
- With the 1996 bond funds the City of Shreveport also purchased a 16 acre tract on the south side of Flournoy Lucas Road to preserve the 3132 extension route. The City still owns this tract, which is now between the Twelve Oaks subdivision owned by Donnie Juneau/ Shreveport Development Corporation and the Esplanade development owned by Tim Larkin/Larkin Development.
- Utilization of the 16-acre city tract by Larkin or any entity other than the City of Shreveport should require the enactment of an ordinance by the Shreveport City Council. A sale of this property requires adherence to the surplus property ordinance, including a resolution declaring the same to be “surplus” and public bids for disposal after advertisement, etc.
- Tim Larkin has assembled three separate purchases of property between Flournoy Lucas Road and Railsback Road into a 150-acre Esplanade neighborhood that he has had re-zoned for residential development. A condition of the re-zoning is that no houses may be built until construction of a connector road from Railsback to Flournoy Lucas Road.This subdivision was originally in the Parish; it has now been annexed into the City of Shreveport.
- In accordance with the zoning requirements, Larkin has completed construction of a road from Railsback to Bayou Pierre and a $1.1 million bridge over Bayou Pierre.
- 10. With the assistance of Bossier Representative Jane Smith, Larkin met with DOTD and was granted a curb-cut on Flournoy Lucas at the location of the City’s 16 acre tract.
- By letter dated May 31st, 2011, the MPC rejected Larkin’s request to plat and dedicate an extension of his road from Bayou Pierre that ended at the city property. The letter advised Larkin that “properly authorized documentation from the city of Shreveport allowing a connection through their (city of Shreveport) property to Flournoy Lucas Road must be submitted to the MPC staff” before the application could be placed on the MPC agenda.
- On June 7th, Shreveport attorney John E. Settle, Jr. filed suit against the City of Shreveport, Caddo Parish and Larkin asking the Caddo District Court to spell out how Larkin could use city property to build his private road to access Flournoy Lucas. Willis Knighton, which operates The Oaks retirement center, joined the lawsuit and the hearing is set for August 8th.
- Recently Tim Larkin partially cleared the City’s 16-acre tract, presumably without the written permission of the City of Shreveport. It is unknown if Larkin was given oral permission by a city official(s) to take this action.
- After litigation was filed by John E. Settle, Jr., Larkin amended his road application to terminate the road extension from the Bayou Pierre to a point west of the city owned tract. Larkin now has a application pending with the MPC to build a temporary road from Flournoy Lucas for construction truck traffic; the MPC meeting is August 1st.
- The Shreveport City Council recently voted to prevent Larkin from using the city owned land for access to Flournoy Lucas Road.
- The Northwest Louisiana Council of Government (NCLOG) is a regional transportation panel composed of the mayors of Shreveport and Bossier, the administrators of the Caddo and Bossier Police Jury/Commission, Shreveport MPC director, Port of Shreveport Bossier Executive Director, and a representative of DOTD along with the NCLOG director.
- At the April 7th, 2011 NLCOG, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover made a resolution to “rescind the approved corridor assignment” for the 3132 extension of the Port. The motion was seconded by Port Director Eric England; the DOTD representative on NLCOG voted against the motion.
- On June 15, 2011, NLCOG signed off on a $1 million, examination of options to connect state Highway 3132 with the future Interstate 69; $800,000 will be federal funds and $200,000 will be state funds.
- Twelve Oaks subdivision on Flournoy Lucas has a DOTD approved curb-cut. The developer Tony Janca is pushing for a locally owned and financed project that would loop south and east of Twelve Oaks to intersect Louisiana 1.
- DOTD has offered to turn over Flournoy Lucas to the City of Shreveport; then the City could decide curb-cuts and regulate truck traffic on this road. As a part of this roadway transfer, DOTD would also require the City to take over and maintain the Inner Loop south of Bert Kouns and a portion of Ellerbe Rd.
- The City of Shreveport, the Caddo Commission and the Port of Shreveport/Bossier have now all enacted resolutions supporting the extension of 3132 Inner Loop.
This summary is just that; much more could be written about every point listed. It’s hard to find anyone who does not believe the 3132/Inner Loop needs to be extended from Flournoy Lucas — the debate is where, who pays for it, and how long construction will take.