Police jury talks private roads

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VIDALIA — For the Concordia Parish Police Jury, roadwork and traffic are constant subjects of discussion.

However, while there are many highways and roads within the parish to maintain, build and safeguard, some roads are off limits.

At Monday night’s meeting, jurors discussed subjects such as the continued work on Moose Lodge Road, applying gravel to county roads and Tolliver Road’s un-drivable conditions.

Elijah Stovall lives on Tolliver Road, and for the better part of eight years has tried maintaining the road to keep it accessible to cars and any emergency vehicle that needs to travel to any of the five houses that reside on it.

Monday night, after rainwater had taken its toll on the road in previous weeks, Stovall shared his concerns with jurors in hopes that something could be done.

“I’ve got bone cancer, and we have a daughter who is handicapped,” Stovall said.

Stovall told jurors if he, his family or any of the families that reside in the five houses that live on Tolliver Road needed assistance, there was no way an emergency vehicle could navigate the road.

Concordia Parish Juror Jerry Beatty said he had seen the road recently, and it was not passable.

However, while the parish scrapes and gravels roads on a monthly basis, Tolliver Road is different — it’s privately owned.

The jury brainstormed ways the road could be scraped or could have dirt added to it without breaking any laws, but no method was found.

“We may can make a motion to have the parish grate the road for one time only,” said Concordia Parish Jury President Melvin Ferrington.

This idea was less than well received by some jurors.

“I believe that we’re about to open a can of worms if we do this,” Concordia Parish Juror Jimmy Jernigan said.

The jury decided grating the private road would be against the law.

“The road is in poor condition, but there is nothing we can do because it is not a parish road,” Ferrington said. “You just can’t put parish equipment on private property.”

It was when Stovall mentioned water running across parish property due to poorly working ditches that jurors found something they could fix.

“We can send the highway department to clean out the ditch,” Beatty said.

In order for the road to be claimed by the parish, the private owners would have to pave it with blacktop and elevate it to the level of the parish’s connecting highway.

Also during Monday’s meeting, jurors passed an ordinance to prohibit parking on the shoulders of Moose Lodge Road.

“(The road’s) narrow shoulders were causing traffic risks (for drivers) with people parking on the side of the road,” Ferrington said. “But ‘No Parking’ signs will go up until the road is reconstructed.”

Other items discussed at Monday’s meeting include:

The jury adopted a resolution to award contracts for administrative services to Oliver Schulz and Associates and engineering services to Bryant Hammett & Associates for the 2010-2011 LCDBG Road Grant.

The jury voted to pay Bryant Hammett & Associates $18.75 for he Hal Garner right of way and $2,238.75 for off system bridge inspections, which were required by the state.