Contracts let for parish road paving, bridge replacement

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — Almost $15 million in contracts were let Tuesday for replacement of the Black River bridge and overlaying Carter Street in Vidalia, said Bill Forrest of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

&uot;This will be a great asset to our community,&uot;&160;Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said of the Carter Street project. &uot;It’s developed some ruts over time.&uot; The last time significant work was done on the street was 10 to 12 years ago, he said.

Forrest, district engineer administrator for the department’s District 58 office, which oversees several parishes including Concordia, made his comments at the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce’s Tuesday meeting.

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The Black River bridge, which lies between Wildsville and Jonesville, is being replaced as part of the department’s four-laning 27.5 miles of U.S. 84 from Ferriday to Archie.

Johnson Brothers construction was awarded a contract for the $14.25 million project. An estimated completion date was not given. Once the bridge is replaced, the department will start four-laning the highway, beginning with the segment that lies between Ferriday and Stacy.

Overlaying of Carter Street, on which about 25,000 cars travel each day, is part of a U.S. 65/Louisiana 15 project that includes four-laning the highway from Monroe to Baton Rouge.

D&J Construction of West Monroe was awarded the $650,000 contract. Work could start as early as Thursday, said Mayor Hyram Copeland, and will probably take 90 days to complete.

Forrest also said that overlaying of the portion of Louisiana 15 that lies between Peck and Sicily Island is under way and should be completed by next summer.

Forrest would not estimate when the U.S. 65/Louisiana 15 or U.S. 84 projects might be completed. &uot;It is still too early to say,&uot; he added.

And he admitted that due to constraints in funding and personnel, such projects are not always finished on time.

In any case, four-laning highways through Concordia Parish is &uot;very important in our (economic) development,&uot; said chamber President Cliff Merritt.