The idea of a privately-funded bridge spanning the Red River connecting the southern parts of Caddo and Bossier Parishes has taken another step forward with the Bossier Parish Police to enter into a "cooperative endeavor" with Alabama developer Tim James.

Jury members unanimously agreed to the agreement between the parish and Tim James, Inc. James is currently in talks with both Caddo and Bossier regarding his proposal to construct, maintain and operate, all at his expense, a toll bridge and roadways to the structure. Plans for the project, estimated by James to cost between $60-$80 million, would connect state Caddo's 3132 to US Highway 71.

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Shreveport attorney William Bradford, part of the James team, explains how the negotiations with both parishes are moving forward. "We're having conversations to make sure that everyone understands the impact that this will have and that we're here to support both those (Caddo and Bossier) projects. Our goal is to create a better roadway that is an asset to the community. As we've discussed before, we don't take any public roadways and make them private. We're constructing all new roads...in cooperation with the parishes."

And what about the original price tag? Is the James company sticking with it's original price estimate? "Our (cost) expectations have not exceeded any budgets we've put together. We're comfortable with the price points of this project. Mr. James is very committed to this community and we look forward to his investment and the impact this will have."

Here's the complete conversation Bradford had with KEEL:

Bradford adds that after agreements with both parishes are in place, the project will begin the design phase, followed by an estimated two year construction period. Bradford says that James hopes the bridge could be open as early as 2026.

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