BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — Members of Team Barksdale and local community leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony for the official start of construction of the Bodcau Railroad crossing gate, here Feb. 22.
The Bodcau gate is planned to be completed in August of this year. When the gate is completed, it will save an estimated 15-20 minutes of travel time to and from Bossier City schools, main base and local shopping.
"The idea for this gate has been tossed around between different agencies for several years," said Richard Parent, Barksdale Real Property officer. "Within the last year, significant headway was made to get this gate into the construction phase. All the different government agencies involved have really come together to make this idea a reality."
The $1.16 million project is designed to be a silent gate with lights, which means the train that runs next to the base will not sound its horn as it approaches the gate, and base residents on the East Reservation will not be disturbed as the train passes by the area.
"This groundbreaking signifies the start of the next phase in doing something awesome for our residents on Barksdale," said Col. Andrew Gebara, 2nd Bomb Wing commander.
Once the gate is opened, it will be a limited access gate open during school hours and will expedite the school traffic to and from the East Reservation.
The families of Barksdale's East Reservation have been isolated from the local community and the base due to the distance to the nearest gate and the main base.
"By forming partnerships with the local community, state organizations and city offices, we are able to improve the quality of life for our residents on Barksdale," said Gebara. "It has taken us a long time to plan and organize this dream to make it a reality. But, anything worth doing is worth taking the time to do it right."