" three-prong plan" - - " The first stage of the plan was lowering the lake level."
                                                     " phase two of the plan, will involve the removal of stumps"
                                                     " The third stage.. construction on the new bridge "
                                           {I suppose two out of three aint too bad}

 Scroll down this page for New Bridge Progress Reports and Photos.
1- Face Lift (See footnote for status of STUMP REMOVAL)
2- State to replace Bridge
3- New Bridge construction starts
4- Overview-(DOTD Project Summary w/Photos)

1.  Lake Bistineau to get a face lift     ( December 2000)

Clint Land


ELM GROVE – Citizens using Lake Bistineau in southern Bossier Parish and parts of Bienville and Webster Parish will benefit from Sen. Foster Campbell’s, D–Elm Grove, three-prong plan to improve the man-made lake.

The first stage of the plan was lowering the lake level. The purpose for the draw down was to “freeze out” unwanted vegetation growing in the lake bed. And, to allow property owners surrounding the lake to make improvements on boat houses and piers.

Campbell said work is about to begin in phase two of the plan, and will involve the removal of stumps from boating areas on the lake.

The stump-removal project will cost an estimated $75,000, and the money will come from the three bordering parishes’ Rural Development Fund. “Bistineau has lots of stumps and they are a serious hazard. Some people have been injured out there, but it’s amazing that more haven’t been so far,” he said.

Campbell said the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries division, located in Minden, will assist in the stump removal – marking hazardous areas for improvements.

Local fishermen utilizing Lake Bistineau said the stump removal will not make fishing more difficult. “I think it’s a good idea. When they cut down the stumps a fish living near it will just swim somewhere else. Just like when your boat prop rams into (a stump),” said Bienville Parish resident Wyatt Pullig.

The third stage is already in the works, but will be let for bid in early January of 2001. Campbell said a bridge will be constructed on the lake side of the existing Bistineau dam. The bridge will run from Bienville Parish (south of the dam) into Bossier Parish. The bridge will span approximately one mile of water and low-level land according to Bruce Easterly of LaDOTD.

“It’s going to cost about $14 million, but that was significantly less expensive than our alternative plan,” Easterly said.

The original project called for the repair of the existing road and stabilization of the dam at the southwestern end of the lake. “The dam has a history of sliding and shifting. Stabilizing that, plus de-watering an area for the road was expensive.”

The $14 million construction project will be the largest in Campbell’s district and one of the largest in north Louisiana (a $25 million interstate revamp is the largest).

Easterly said construction on the new bridge will take between one year and 18 months once construction begins. The existing road will remain in place during construction to alleviate any traffic hassles. The state will maintain the road after the bridge is opened in order to access the dam.

“Lake Bistineau is a great asset for our community and citizens. We need to take care of it properly,” Campbell said.

Footnote "STUMP REMOVAL ". The Stump Removal project never did materialize as was planned. High water level and time limits on funding problems
coupled with involvement of three Parish governments apparently took its toll on this planned event.  The following excerpt  was taken from the 3 July 2002 Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting: 
"Mr. Woodard advised that the deadline for utilizing Rural Development Funds for removal of stumps in Lake Bistineau is April 6, 2003. He stated that due to the current water level, there is no way to be certain that all the stumps will be removed. Mr. Hammack ststed that a boat row can not be designated if the location of remaining stumps is unknown. Motion was made by Mr. Rogers, seconded by Mr. Cummings, to cancel the project at this time, for possible consideration at a later date. Motion carried unanimously. Senator Foster Campbell is to be advised of the jury's decision." 

2.       State plans to replace bridge over Bistineau
By Teri Bailey
The Times

 ·  Project on state Highway 154 will cost about $14 million.

  Commuters and visitors who frequent the state Highway 154 bridge over Lake Bistineau are on the road to a bigger, better byway.
  The state Department of Transportation and Development in January is expected to let a contract for a two-lane concrete bridge (with shoulders) to replace an aging timber bridge atop a dam. The construction project, estimated to cost about $14 million, will span about a mile and will be built on the lakeside of the existing bridge. The dam will be refurbished as well.
  The new bridge -- billed as the biggest project in North Louisiana -- connects Bienville and Bossier parishes and serves as a major commuter route for residents in Ringgold, Castor and other Bienville Parish towns.
  "The bridge is in terrible shape. The railings are dangerous and worn out," said state Sen. Foster Campbell, who represents the area. "Lake Bistineau is such a great asset that we need to do everything we can to preserve it -- including the bridges and dams."
  Bruce Easterly, DOTD district administrator, said work should begin in April or May. Project time is uncertain but most likely will last 18 months to two years. The existing timber bridge will stay in use until the new bridge is complete; after that, the timber bridge will be fenced off.
  Bossier Parish also will close one end of Lakeview Circle -- which loops onto Highway 154 -- to help in construction. Residents along that road will enter and exit through one end of the street. When the bridge is complete, the state will overlay Lakeview Circle as repayment for the inconvenience.
  "Most of the people who live in and around Ringgold commute to work in the Shreveport-Bossier area, so anything that can be done for transportation in and out of Ringgold is a great help to us," Ringgold Mayor Bob Corley said. "I average four times a week, and there’s a lot of people who go every day."
  Ringgold resident Jo Ann Basinger was happy to hear news of the upgrade. She travels to the Bossier City-Shreveport area three to four times a week and has noticed the bridge’s condition.
  "Much of the problem is not the bridge itself. It’s the approaches, especially on the Bienville side," Basinger said. "It washes really bad, and the under-layer of the highway itself gets really bumpy."
  Corley added that the stretch of Highway 154 leading into Ringgold could stand an upgrade, too. An overlay is not immediately scheduled, but the state already has improved the highway in Bossier Parish. Corley hopes Bienville Parish is as lucky.
  "I know (a new bridge) will make a difference in my life because every time we go over it, my husband fusses," Basinger joked. "To be able to make him be quiet when we cross it would be great."
  DOTD traffic counts from 1999 show 2,100 vehicles travel the bridge each day. In the next 20 years, that count is expected to rise to 3,600 vehicles per day.

  Lake Bistineau also will have hundreds of stumps cut down to improve boating safety. Bossier Parish police jurors agreed Wednesday to seek $25,000 in state rural development dollars to pay for the stump removal. Work could begin in a couple of weeks.
  Jeff Smith of Haughton has been contracted to cut the stumps 11 feet below the water’s surface. Campbell -- who is seeking support from Bossier, Bienville and Webster parishes -- hopes to receive $75,000 in state money to complete the work. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will oversee the job.

               The following will report the progress of  activities related to: 

3.                        New Bridge Construction


24 Jan 2001- Low Bidder for construction of the Lake Bistineau Spillway Bridge and Approaches  was ANGELO IAFRATE CONSTR. LLC (AIC). Angelo Iafrate Construction, LLC (AIC), based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, services the Southern Region.  The operations and business focus of AIC is heavy civil, highway and surface paving, together with turnkey industrial contracting services. Turnkey industrial work is performed by James Industrial Constructors, LLC (JIC) a wholly owned affiliate of Angelo Iafrate Construction, LLC. The JIC organization, a full service contracting entity founded in 1988, is focused on industrial contracting and environmental services.

 Constuction includes grading, drainage structures, cold planing asph. concrete pavement, lime treatment, class II base course, asph. conc pvmnt, precast prestressed concrete girder span bridge & related work. Amount:$13,933,738.50 
($3.2M - Bienville Parish, $10.7M - Bossier Parish)
Project No. 090-01-0015      Federal Number: BR-STP-547-1(001)



4.   Bridge Overview (DOTD Summary w/Photos)

 Dating back to 1996 when DOTD’s plans to take bids on a new Bistineau dam and bridge structure were initially reported, I have been bombarded with questions, comments and speculation about the “new bridge”. In attempting to provide answers to some of the issues raised, I have contacted representatives of DOTD on several occasions and have in almost every case received prompt responses. However, recognizing the complexity and dynamics of such a project as designing and building a bridge across the lake coupled with funding issues, I have been reluctant to “go to the well” too often in fear of wearing out my welcome.

 Now, it appears that the design, easement, and funding issues are behind us and construction of the “new bridge” has in fact commenced. Again, with the arrival of heavy equipment followed by actual construction , the questions and speculation on what the project will entail and what will the bridge “look like” have started to come in. So, once again I have contacted our friends at DOTD and once again have received a prompt and detailed response

 But before we get into details of the project, let’s look a little farther back in time to 1934-35 when the dam was constructed, impounding Dorcheat Bayou and forming Lake Bistineau. As most of you know the spillway gates were not built at the point of the lake channel, which would intersect the dam near the east bank had the channel not been diverted 90 degrees to the west bank. The reason for this relocation is attributed by many to be a political issue, recognizing the original channel would have put the spillway in Bienville Parish rather than in the more financially stronger Bossier Parish. This maneuver, political or otherwise, resulted in digging a new channel running east to west parallel to the earth dam. Now what does this have to do with the current issues? To answer that, one must take into consideration how this earth dam was constructed to extend it farther west. When the new channel was dug, the trees and roots that were in the path were pushed over and piled along side the path and the dirt removed to form the channel was pushed on top the trees to form the base of what became the dam as we see it today. It is believed by many to include yours truly, that the decaying of those trees and roots over time and resulting settling of the dirt fill has contributed to the continuing deterioration of the embankment through today. Ah yes, speaking of today….

 Before I go any farther, I want to acknowledge those DOTD Officials that took the time out of their schedules to enlighten us on this project.

 A special thanks to Engineer Intern, Kelly M. Kemp, for compiling this very detailed and informative summary and also to Bridge Design Administrator,Tony M. Ducote, P.E. and Bridge Design Manager, Ray A. Mumphrey, P.E. for their support and review of same.

  In order to maintain clarity of the facts, herein is Kelly’s Summary Document as written. I believe you will find answers to many questions and clarification on many issues, eg: the original project scope and why it was changed, descriptions of bridge design and construction techniques along with photos of similar bridges.


Kelly’s Report:


Lake Bistineau Spillway Bridge – Fact Sheet

State Project Number 090-01-0015   Route LA 154



 The project purpose is to replace the 1,300 ft timber trestle bridge located on LA 154 along the Lake Bistineau Spillway.  The bridge was determined to be structurally deficient and the levee roadway requires ongoing costly maintenance, which interferes with traffic.  The original scope of this project involved replacing the deficient bridge with a new structure and new embankment roadway along the existing alignment.

 Replacing the bridge along the existing alignment would require building a temporary north side detour structure, which would be removed after completion of the project.  In addition, new roadway embankment construction would require “dry” construction within the lake.  This is achieved through a combination of drawing down the lake and constructing a temporary cofferdam along the full length of the roadway embankment. The cofferdam is constructed using vertical steel sheet piles.  Water is pumped out of the cofferdam and the embankment is constructed below the existing water level “in the dry”.  This operation allows removal of unstable material and replacement with the compact fill necessary to provide roadway support.

 A feasibility study was prepared and revealed that construction of the project along the existing alignment would be cost prohibitive.  In addition to the cost of roadway embankment construction, it was concluded that the new roadway and embankment would continue to settle and require additional maintenance for years to come.

 The feasibility study resulted in the proposal of a 7,840 ft bridge structure 120 ft north and parallel to the existing alignment.  This plan would allow traffic to be removed from the existing levee and allow future maintenance of the spillway levee without interfering with traffic. This approach also eliminates the need for a detour structure and costly dry embankment construction in the lake, reducing environmental impacts to the lake during construction.  Cost analysis for the 7,840 ft bridge indicated it to be the most cost effective option, achieving the goal of replacing the deficient timber bridge with a virtually maintenance-free concrete structure.

 New Bridge Dimensions / Project Scope

 The new Lake Bistineau Bridge will carry two-way traffic across Lake Bistineau on an alignment 120 ft north and parallel to the existing alignment.  The structure length will be 7,840 ft and will have a 32 ft clear roadway width consisting of two 12 ft lanes with 4 ft shoulders as compared to the existing bridge, which has a 23 ft clear roadway width.

 The finish grade elevation of the new bridge roadway will be 150.22 ft above mean sea level beginning on the east end.  The elevation will rise over the last 700 ft of length on the west end as the alignment ties into the existing ground elevation. Construction along the new alignment will allow for maintenance of traffic along the existing alignment, resulting in minimum interruption of traffic.  Traffic will be moved onto the new structure upon completion of the new bridge, followed by removal of the existing timber bridge.

 New Bridge / Construction Techniques / Appearance

 The new Lake Bistineau Bridge will utilize two types of concrete construction: precast pre-stressed concrete (PPC) and steel-reinforced cast-in-place (CIP) concrete.

 The PPC members are fabricated by a manufacturer off-site and delivered to the project site ready for installation.  The steel-reinforced CIP concrete is placed on-site and requires placing steel reinforcing bars into concrete forms followed by placement of concrete.  The construction materials will be delivered to the site and transported by barge to the portion of the structure under construction.

 The Lake Bistineau structure is composed of one hundred twelve (112) 70 ft long PPC girder spans with four side-by-side girder rows per span. These spans are grouped into 280 ft continuous units to minimize deck joints and to strengthen the structure.  The spans are supported by structures called “bents,” each consisting of a steel-reinforced CIP concrete cap-beam placed over four PPC piles.  Some bents consist of six PPC piles to add stability to the structure.  A 7 ˝ inch thick steel-reinforced CIP concrete deck is placed over the girders to form the riding surface.  Steel-reinforced CIP concrete barrier railing is then formed on each side of deck running the length of the bridge to form the 32 ft clear roadway.

The following photos were provided by Kelly to show other bridges built on the same design as the Lake Bistineau Bridge.

Side Note:    Project time is likely to last 18 months to two years. 

  Click on any of the photos for a full view.

  Mvc-003s.jpg (29145 bytes) A view of the spillway area from the east bank before the bridge. 

2 April 2001- Preparations for construction of the new bridge across Lake Bistineau is apparently underway with the placement  of heavy construction equipment and the launching of a work platform into the lake waters at the east end of the dam.                                                           

  Mvc-006s.jpg (42338 bytes) 2 April 2001-Construction equipment and floating platform launched.(east bank)

  Mvc-005s.jpg (61156 bytes) 9 April 2001- Long time TL James employee Paul Faulkner (left) discusses unloading more equipment with a co-worker.   TL James Construction (Ruston) was renamed James Industrial Constructors, LLC (JIC) when it became a wholly owned affiliate of Angelo Iafrate Construction, LLC (AIC)
Mvc-010s.jpg (36702 bytes) 20 April 2001-  Removal of  trees and brush from within the lake near the west bank (Doris' Camp) provides unobstructed view to the east bank.

Mvc-012s.jpg (38398 bytes) 24 April 2001- Clearing of trees and brush activities have progressed from within the lake onto the west bank land area, as seen here from hwy 154  just west of the spillway.

Mvc-013s.jpg (30743 bytes) 28 Apr 01- This gigantic machinery sits on land on the east bank prior to being launched into the lake .....Yep, I did say "launched into the lake".

Mvc-015s.jpg (30878 bytes) 29 Apr 01- That same gigantic machinery now sits on a floating platform on the  west bank. Unless you are a trained engineer, one can only imagine the buoyancy needed to support the great weight and leverage of that loooong boom.


Mvc-014s.jpg (40113 bytes) 13 Jan 02- pilings near completion.

Mvc-016s.jpg (47717 bytes) 21 Mar 02- Pilings have been completed. 63 of the total 112 Spans have been positioned.