LAPLACE — All paving work associated with St. John the Baptist Parish’s 2014 Road Improvement Project is expected to be completed this week, weather permitting, with only minor work remaining for the completion of the project such as dressing of the shoulders, Public Works Director Brian Nunes said Monday.
Many aging streets around the parish have gotten recent facelifts as the parish works to complete the project, which includes 34 streets and carries a $3.2 million price tag.
Parish President Natalie Robottom said roads were selected for the project based on condition and need. She said input was gathered from administration, Public Works staff, council members and residents in selecting the targeted roads.
The work was sorely needed, as Robottom said there are roads throughout the parish that have not been repaired since they were constructed.
“For years there were no funds available for a comprehensive program, and the parish relied heavily on grant funds for road repairs,” Robottom said. “Now, administration combines a variety of funding sources, including parish funds, to make road repairs.”
As is true to all projects, cost is the determining factor each year when deciding what streets will get repaired. Robottom said approximately $1.2 million is budgeted annually for asphalt and concrete repairs, but this year an additional $2 million was allocated for roads in the 2014 bond issue.
Subsequently, the 2014 Road Improvement Program is the largest undertaking of roads in St. John Parish to be completed in a single year.
Additional parish funds of approximately $1 million are being invested in bridge and sidewalk repairs this year.
Robottom pointed out this year’s investment does not include state projects such as the Belle Terre Boulevard/Airline Highway project or the Louisiana Highway 637 widening project.
The 16 LaPlace streets targeted in 2014 include Apple, Apricot, Bamboo, Beech, Bert, Birch, Dove, Elm, Falcon, Palmetto, Swan, Villa and Wren. Also included were Magnolia Drive, Peavine Road and Phoenix Lane.
The 11 Reserve streets include East 12th, 14th, 19th, 31st, 17th, 20th, 23rd and 26th, as well as West 6th, 7th and 13th.
Anthony F. Monica and Museum Streets were repaired in Garyville, and Chestnut and Marigold Streets were targeted in Mt. Airy.
West bank streets included are East 8th in Edgard and West 7th and West 9th in Wallace.
Nunes said asphalt contracts are awarded each year to the lowest bidder through the parish’s procurement process.
“Barriere Construction is the 2014 asphalt contractor and is currently performing all asphalt repairs throughout the parish,” Nunes said. “They have worked diligently to complete repairs in a timely manner while causing little disruption to our residents.”
The list of roads targeted for 2014, including estimated costs, can be found at sjbparish.com.
Robottom said Nunes is working on an assessment program to rate all parish roads and determines a priority for future improvements, and that the 2015 Road Improvement List is already in draft form and will be finalized based on the 2015 budget and a priority list submitted by the Public Works Department.
Council members have input every year into what roads will be repaired, she said.
“Some of them submit roads individually throughout the year, while others submit a list and some validate the list submitted by administration,” Robottom said. “However, the final list is based on road condition, need and availability of funds.”