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|Senator: No new campus for DCC until 2011|
Delta Community College's new campus most likely will not open until sometime in 2011, state Sen. Mike Walsworth said earlier this week.
Speaking to a Republican Party women's group Monday at the West Monroe Convention Center, Walsworth said the project to build DCC's new campus has been delayed by several months.
"It's on hold right now because there are not any kind of bonds being sold, but we think that will move forward, and that community college will be ready in 2011," said Walsworth, R-West Monroe.
"It really should be beautiful," Walsworth added.
The new campus will be housed on 68 acres off Millhaven Road on the north side of Interstate 20.
On another front, Walsworth briefly discussed the proposed construction of another Ouachita River bridge, upcoming state budget issues and state government's actions during the recent hurricanes.
Last week, Walsworth told The Ouachita Citizen he's still pushing for the proposed construction of a new bridge over the Ouachita River linking Monroe and West Monroe. He favors the original proposal accepted by the Ouachita Council of Governments, which calls for the construction of a corridor linking La. 143 in western Ouachita Parish to U.S. 165 in north Monroe.
A recent study indicated that project could cost almost $250 million.
"If it costs $250 million, we will not build that bridge," he said. "We'll just go somewhere else, or do something else. I promise you we won't build a bridge for $250 million."
Walsworth said the Ouachita Expressway Authority and state Department of Transportation and Development are still looking at ways to lower the cost of the project.
Following Walsworth's comments, one person asked about the option of a new bridge linking Monroe and West Monroe, utilizing Forsythe Avenue near Monroe's Garden District.
"The Forsythe option is out," Walsworth explained. "It won't happen. The legislation that we passed only talks about the current location."
"Even the Expressway Authority can't talk about Forsythe," Walsworth continued. "It's either this location, or nothing."
Regarding local road projects, Walsworth improvements along Arkansas Road in West Monroe would be a top priority over the next few years.
Walsworth expects the acquisition of property for right-of-way purposes along Arkansas Road will begin sometime in 2009.
The current plan calls for the expansion of Arkansas Road to four lanes from Whites Ferry Road to Caldwell Road. Most of that expansion would include a turning lane as well as the four lanes.
The project is estimated to cost around $34 million. Approximately $24 million has already been appropriated for the project.