ROAD WORK AHEAD: Police Jury moving forward with over $2 million worth of road improvements

Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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VIDALIA, La. — Concordia Parish is one step closer to seeing new asphalt on its roads.

On Monday, the Concordia Parish Police Jury authorized its engineers to bid out contracts for more than $2 million worth of asphalt for parish roads.

The roads to receive asphalt are East, Eagle, Freeman, Guido, Sage, BJ and Stephens Roads.

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The project is supported by a grant from FEMA. However, FEMA approved East and BJ roads in their entirety and only portions of the other roads with a 20 percent cost share required of the parish, projects director Sandi Burley explained to the jury on Monday.

Burley said to complete the roads in their entirety, the parish would have to “come out of pocket” or find other grant opportunities for just over $1 million based on the cost estimates for the projects. To do only the FEMA-approved portions and patch the roads, she said would cost the parish approximately $200,000.

“You take a million to do what FEMA gave us and then you add a million to do the rest of it,” she said.

For the FEMA grant, the project has to be completed by an April 2023 deadline, Burley said.

Police Juror Genesia Allen made the motion to allow engineers to bid out the entire roads to find out exactly what the cost would be to finish them.

“We will go from there,” Allen said.

In other matters during Monday’s meeting of the Concordia Parish Police Jury, the board:

  • Introduced its new Secretary and Treasurer Ariella Carter, a Vidalia resident who is currently training to replace Interim Secretary and Treasurer Cathy Darden.
  • Unanimously agreed to advertise for a public hearing to set a speed limit on Sportsman Lane, where currently no speed limit is posted. The motion to set a public hearing was made by Police Juror Joseph Parker. The limit on roads with no speed limit posted is set at 55 miles per hour by default, Darden explained. However, police jurors expressed that it is too dangerous without a lower limit.
  • Approved the purchase of a tractor for the maintenance department for $86,236 and renewed leases for two dump trucks at a rate of $2,009 per month for two years.
  • Discussed writing a letter to U.S. Senators in opposition to a bill that sets new financial reporting requirements for local governments. Darden said the bill aims to set a uniform mechanism for documenting and reporting financials statewide. Darden said the new system would be “costly and time-consuming” for the parish. Parker made the motion to send the letter and it passed unanimously.
  • Unanimously awarded an engineering contract to Bryant Hammett and Associates for Community Development Block Grant street improvements for the Fiscal Year 2023.