Jurors spend 2 hours on road, bridge issues
By Paul Kedinger
CROWLEY – The Road and Bridge Committee spent two hours Tuesday night debating the merits of requests by citizens to have several roads included in the parish road system and one arguing that the Jury had no jurisdiction over a cattle guard on St. Joan Road due to “dual maintenance” by the Jury and property owners.
As Cade Benoit, committee chairman, adjourned the lengthy session, two jurors, Alton Stevenson and A.J. “Fatty” Broussard suggested the committee issues be placed last on future agendas.
A request by Rayne Mayor Jim Petitjean that the Jury committee support the construction of an interchange at the intersection of I-10 and La. Hwy. 98 (Grand Prairie Road) was the only issue that received a rapid supportive vote from the committee.
Mayor Petitjean requested the Jury’s support in order to present it to Rep. Charles Boustany and Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to speed up funding of the interchange to serve a planned water park development north of the interstate.
“The environmental impact phase has been completed,” said Mayor Petitjean, adding that while an interchange is under construction, the city will upgrade another access road to serve the creation of the entertainment complex.
Two residents of Lana Road asked the Jury for a letter accepting a 1,100 foot extension of the road beyond a blacktop stretch already in the parish road system.
The two men argued the road was once a state road.
Jury President A.J. “Jay” Credeur and other jurors noted the road would have to be brought up to standard before it would be accepted.
While appearing to relent on the requirement that the section contain a 50-foot right of way, jurors insisted the residents along the road level it, remove all trees from the right-of-way and disc up aggregate road materials.
Jurors took no action on a vegetation management contract, believing road crew personnel had learned enough to regulate the weed spraying themselves.
Jurors agreed to accept a 720 foot section of Myers Road into the parish road system if it passes inspection by Road Manager Robert Bergeaux. The Hubert McManus Subdivision Road was accepted into the road system.
Charles Scanlan argued the Jury could not remove a cattle guard and that a segment of St. Joan Road had been maintained as private property.
Juror Kermit Richard, however, got approval to pull out the cattle guard and replace it with a culvert.
Scanlan indicated the Jury could expect a legal challenge.
Jurors learned that the Charles Arceneaux Road bridge over Bayou Wikoff has been closed. Engineer Karl Aucoin reported three pilings were knocked out by drift wood.
Jurors acknowledged the bridge will remain closed until funding in excess of $142,550 can be gathered. The bridge must be rebuilt, said the engineer.
On behalf of the Sixth Ward Drainage District, attorney Doug Wimberly asked the Jury to support a lawsuit against a property owner who is dumping debris in the bayou, changing the course of the bayou. “Eventually, it will take out the Hwy. 13 bridge,” said Wimberly, if the dumping isn’t halted. Jurors offered support by a resolution and indicated they would seek action by state agencies to order a halt to the dumping.