Four-laning capped off with completion of Tensas River Bridge

Published 11:34 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2007

CLAYTON — After an investment of approximately $30 million and more than 15 years, the four-laning of Louisiana 15 was officially completed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Clayton Tuesday.

The ceremony was atop the new Tensas River Bridge, which will carry the southbound traffic on Louisiana 15.

The bridge and southbound lanes will open for traffic next Friday, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Deputy Secretary Cedric Grant said.

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“The four-laning of this road is a big shot in the arm for the area,” he said. “It will do exactly what it is intended to do — bring economic development to the area.”

Clayton Mayor Wilbert Washington said the highway and the new bridge, built along the lines of an old railroad trestle, are a great progress for Clayton.

“Any time traffic comes through, it will bring better economic conditions to the area,” he said.

District 21 Rep. Andy Anders, who lives in the Clayton area, said having a completed four-lane highway will help bring more travelers from both north and south Louisiana through the area.

“This is the artery we have been looking for, whether for folks from north Louisiana going down to watch the Tigers play at Louisiana State University or folks from south Louisiana coming up to go hunting,” he said.

Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee Sen. Noble Ellington agreed.

“It (the highway) is connecting us to the rest of the state,” he said. “You can’t connect a dollar amount to that.”

Ellington said he foresees businesses coming to the area because of the highway.

“When you think that Louisiana 15 is connecting north Louisiana to the capital city Baton Rouge, it’s very important,” he said. “We’re going to see some south Louisiana businesses moving north.”

Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Rep. Jim Fannin said he has already seen economic development in other areas when similar projects were completed.

“I am confident I will see that here,” he said.

The Louisiana 15 four-laning project was a part of the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development Program, and was funded by a $0.04 per gallon gasoline tax.