Road dispute settled

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

VIDALIA — All parties have settled in the Concordia Parish police jury’s lawsuit about the 2007 road project that saw roads start deteriorating almost as quickly as they were built.

Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said he signed the papers Wednesday that finalized a settlement between the jury and the engineering firm that worked on the project, Bryant Hammett and Associates.

The settlement requires Bryant Hammett and Associates reimburse the jury $400,000 it paid for the project.

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“I am so glad to have this behind us,” Ferrington said. “It has been a rough two years, and now we can get on to some things we should be doing. At the end of it, nobody comes out a winner on this type of lawsuit.”

The jury had previously reached separate settlements with the company that built the roads, Blain Companies of Natchez, and the company that designed the roads, GTL of Alexandria.

The problem with the roads is that — the way they were designed — they should have never been built on the soil base they were, Ferrington said.

“In order to make a good hard-surface road, you would have to move all this soil out and bring more soil in,” he said. “It would cost approximately $1 million per mile to do, but that wasn’t how this road was designed.”

The settlements with Blain and GTL were reached in mid-February.

The settlement with GTL was for the company to reimburse the jury $300,000, and the settlement with Blain included repairs to 18 roads.

Blain also agreed to pay $187,845.17 in attorney’s fees, $100,000 for delays and liquidated damages, $63,593.10 for road testing, $16,000 for expert witness fees and all of the costs of mediation incurred by the jury. The scope of Blain’s repair work will be between $2.35 million and $2.5 million.