City to look at grants for D.A. Biglane repairs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; The city will look into grant funding to repair D.A. Biglane Road before it decides to close it, Mayor Hyram Copeland said Monday.

&8220;We&8217;re not going to do anything until we find out whether we can get grant money to help repair it,&8221; he said.

The potential grant money would come from the Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning and Development District, a non-profit group that works with eight Louisiana parishes to help create and maintain jobs.

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Copeland said the grant process will take some time and the town would not move to close the road until a response came back.

Copeland had asked the Concordia Parish Police Jury in its last meeting to swap ownership of the road for Concordia Street Extension, a road the town repaired and maintains.

The 2.2-mile D.A. Biglane Road was built to connect the town&8217;s new industrial park to the airport.

The land for the park, which is south of town along Louisiana 131, was purchased by Vidalia in 1996 from the Whitehall Plantation property owned by the Percy Rountree family.

The road has fallen into disrepair due to use by excessively heavy trucks and poor drainage in some areas.

Copeland told the jury the weight limit signs posted on both ends of the road are frequently torn down.

The resulting pot holes and poor drainage on the road make it hazardous, Copeland told the jury, and the town doesn&8217;t want to be liable for it and can&8217;t afford the nearly $400,000 cost of redoing it.

The city would be forced to close the road, he said, unless the parish could help with the expense.

Closing the road would be painful not just to the handful of residents living on it and nearby Centennial Road, but to the parish residents who use the road as a shortcut between the south and west ends of town.