CHRONOLOGY OF THE EXTENSION’S INTENDED DEMISEby Elliott Stonecipher
In the mind-numbing, bile-raising epic of our Hwy. 3132 Extension to the Port of Caddo-Bossier, my search for certain “missing” (I was often told) documents has continued unabated. One such document has now been “found,” which is to say, finally produced by the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG). It is now possible to present a chronological account, with supportive documentary evidence, of how the public may well have “lost” the final leg of the Extension.
(NOTE: The very telling story behind the “missing” document is included after the close of this report.)
The documentary record presented here reveals how, over many years, the Hwy. 3132 extension to the Port has been lost into the abyss of what can only be called maladministration of governmental process. This record brings us up to date, and now the stakes are as high as they get: as the Esplanade development takes shape within the supposed “new” Extension corridor, all other corridor options are gone. There are no others which are even remotely feasible and/or affordable.
Here are key points from each of the attached documents. Each document is numbered for progression through this chronology. (Links for documents on each document #)
#1 – The 1991-1992 “Inner Loop Expressway LA 3132 Extension Corridor Study” chose from eleven (11) possible routes the one shown on this map, entitled “Preferred Route.” You will notice that as the route crosses Flournoy-Lucas Road, it immediately bears southeast, through what appears to be the present location of a significant part of the Twelve Oaks subdivision. Note that the route, therefore, does not cross Bayou-Pierre.
In 1996, a few years after this study, Shreveport taxpayers voted a $3,500,000 bond issue to be used in the completion of 3132 to the Port. In 1999, part of this money purchased a 16-acre tract of land across Flournoy-Lucas to mark the path of the final leg of 3132.
#2 – This depiction by/from the City of Shreveport, which the reader will likely need to enlarge as necessary, shows the “preferred route” as it exists within an overlay of the existing and continuing Twelve Oaks development. Thus, the “preferred route,” comprehensively studied for all local, area and state governments to follow – and invested in with the 1999 purchase of the 16-acre tract – has a subdivision developed within / over it.
#3 – In 2003, in the “Caddo-Bossier Transportation Plan Update 2001-2025” also referred to as the “Parsons Brinckerhoff Study,” the final leg of the route has been changed, and is now shown crossing Bayou Pierre to its Railsback Road side. (A significant enlargement of the lower right-hand portion of this map provides necessary detail to see this crossing.)
#4 – The “new” route is also shown in this map obtained in our December 15, 2011 Public Records Request of NLCOG.
#5 – In the now-infamous “missing e-mail” of October 29, 2004, Twelve Oaks developer Tony Janca wrote Kent Rogers / NLCOG, saying, ” … we are prepared to set aside sufficient acreage according to the new alignment recommended in Caddo-Bossier Transportation Plan Update 2001-2025 to allow for this future extension of the inner loop across our property.”
#6a & 6b – Two days later, on October 31, 2004, Janca writes this two-page letter to the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). Janca was then involved in a lengthy process required for a rezoning approval from the MPC to build even more houses in the path of the 1991-1992 preferred route corridor. On the second page, Janca repeats his pledge to “set aside sufficient acreage” to preserve the 3132 extension route “to cross Bayou Pierre.” In item 6 on that page, he specifically cites the route change depicted in the 2003 study as justification for further incursion into the “old” corridor.
#7 – At the MPC meeting of November 3, 2004, NLCOG / Kent Rogers speaks in favor of Janca’s additional development into the “old” Extension route, noting that ” … they (Janca / Shreveport Development Corporation) are willing to donate the property to make sure the corridor is preserved.” (The redactions are mine, protecting the identities of engineering firm employees.)
#8 – In this December 3, 2004 e-mail to Charles Kirkland at the MPC, NLCOG / Rogers’ expresses agreement with the Janca assertions concerning the supposed “new” alignment of the Extension corridor to the other – Railsback Road – side of Bayou Pierre. Based on this e-mail and Rogers’ comments at the MPC meeting one month earlier, the MPC – on January 5, 2005 – finally approves the further development of Twelve Oaks into the “old” Extension route.
#9a – Some two years after this maze of busy, but totally ineffectual, governmental processes, on April 10, 2007, Janca sells to Tim Larkin, for his Esplanade development, the 36.99-acre tract through which either the old (?) or new (?) Extension routes must pass.
No preservation of the Extension route, of any kind, passed from Janca to Larkin, and no government entity responsible to do so – NLCOG, DOTD, the City of Shreveport, Caddo Commission, MPC, etc. – took any action if any kind to enforce preservation of the route. In fact, there is no official designation of any Extension route in any documents I have found.
#9b – As shown in this depiction, the 36.99-acre tract Larkin purchased from Janca was necessary for construction of Larkin’s bridge over Bayou-Pierre for Esplanade. Note that the “new” route (as shown in attachments #3 and #4) would require a bridge directly on top of the bridge Larkin has already built over Bayou-Pierre. Recently, additional construction has begun in this tract – though in apparent contradiction of MPC rulings. As this report is written, Larkin is preparing to build a road from his bridge to a curb-cut on Flournoy-Lucas.
#10 – Also, LA DOTD / NLCOG / the City of Shreveport are working to build for Larkin a $2,000,000+ entrance/exit for his development on land owned by The Glen Retirement Center, though The Glen is not in agreement. (Public money will be used for this gift to Larkin.) It would seem, therefore, that LA DOTD intends to expropriate the necessary land from The Glen. Also required is a Flournoy-Lucas median cut which will, in turn, provide for commercial development adjacent, and very damaging to, residents of the Acadiana Place subdivision.
While the Coalition’s PRRs have recently been expanded to include the Shreveport Mayor and city engineering office, no documentary evidence has yet explained how…
… the original route was lost to the development of Twelve Oaks,
… if/how the “new route” was selected and formalized, or
… how any of this land can possibly be used for the 3132 Extension to the Port. Clearly, development within the route is again underway, within full sight of various local and state agencies and officials.
The record to date shows that the “designation” of a “route” or “corridor” in some hyper-expensive “study” is absolutely meaningless. Thus, the $800,000 such study now underway seems just another part of a decades-old ruse at taxpayer expense. We mark our calendars now for an impending announcement – with great fanfare, no doubt – from NLCOG and its consultants that a “new route” has been determined by the near-million-dollar “feasibility” study. ‘Only problem is, no such announcements ever yield the Extension, and would-be routes are all but completely obliterated.
In fact, the four-laned Flournoy-Lucas Road bears the traffic which should long ago have been diverted away from it. That is precisely what the taxpayers paid to make happen over 20 years ago … send the traffic away from Flournoy-Lucas Road. These facts make it clear that the result of this debacle is a greatly heightened risk to the safety of every person living along this section of Flournoy-Lucas Road.
To underscore the complete disinterest in such risk to public safety, related agencies recently raised the speed limit on this part of Flournoy-Lucas to 50 MPH.
The “Missing” E-Mail
I first requested the document of Rogers / NLCOG, in writing, on June 17, 2011. I repeated the request the following week in a personal visit with him. A like request was made of Janca on August 22, 2011, to which he quickly responded that his document had been lost to a computer crash. Other requests, on behalf of the 3132 Coalition, were made of Rogers through NLCOG attorney Jerry Jones, but to no avail. On December 15, 2011, in a formal Public Records Request, we again made the request with the threat of related legal action as the backdrop, and it was “found.” The ultimate production of this document now raises serious questions about the veracity of other NLCOG claims: though our PRR requested related e-mails back to late 2006, we continue to be told that no e-mails “older than one year” exist, a ridiculous claim given that the one now “found” was written more than seven years ago, in October 2004.)
For any reader who may not know, this and all other such commentary I forward to you has been done strictly in the public interest. No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work.
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