Ormond road raising project slow going

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / March 22, 2000

HAHNVILLE – The Ormond road raising project won’t be finished as soon as officials hoped. And it will cost more, too.The project was due to have been completed last December at a cost of $528,000. Now it is expected to be completed before November 2000 at acost of $737,000.

Three change orders, the latest one of $145,000 approved Monday, boosted the price, with consulting engineers blaming the cost and delay in relocating utility lines in the project area.

“The contractor was blowing and going,” consulting engineer Ann Trappey told the St. Charles Parish Council. The project itself was halted lastSeptember as telephone and water lines were discovered where charts did not mark them. The project was only 20 percent completed when stopped.The discovery of the out-of-place lines meant more permit applications from the state highway department, Trappey said.

Approval of this latest change order covered delays and down time from last September, with new contract time added on from the previously- approved completion date of March 10 granted in the last change order.

The Parish Council also adjourned into a 24-minute executive session to discuss possible legal concerns over the year-late project. Councilchairman Terry Authement said the council was briefed on the utility lines and how the problems developed.

New Sarpy resident Stanford Caillouet demanded those responsible for the delays be forced to foot the bill and ended up being expelled from the meeting.

Calls to Louisiana One-Call pipeline locator service did not reveal the actual line placement, Trappey said, though the service allows for an 18- inch leeway in either direction.

A buried telephone line located too close to the project “made all the difference,” she said.

Freddie Babineaux of Destrehan said a prioritized list of drainage projects after the 1995 flood did not list this project as a top priority. “This was apet project to get votes,” Babineaux charged.

The change order was approved with a 7-1 vote, with Barry Minnich voting against it and Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux absent.

In other activity, the Parish Council recognized the achievements of the St. Charles Mustangs Special Olympics basketball team, which won thestate championship recently. Also, Steve Ackerman of Destrehan washonored as the Outstanding Male Special Olympics Athlete of the Year for the state and the recipient of the Spirit of Special Olympics award.

The Parish Council also: Voted to expropriate servitude needed for the force mains serving the Hahnville regional wastewater treatment plant. The parish administrationtried for months to buy the 1.2-acre servitude from Audubon Barges Inc.but was unsuccessful.

Heard a report from Steve Romano, local representative to the Southern Rapid Rail Commission. Romano said the parish may eventually get twopassenger railroad stations for the high-speed line. He clarified “high-speed” as up to 110-mph.

Heard a report from Stephen Finnegan and Mike Brennan on the proposed bicycle path through the Bonnet Carre Spillway, either as part of the present Spillway Road or as a parallel roadway.

Honored both Swamp Eyes of St. Rose and the St. Charles Rotary Club fortheir clean-up efforts. The Great American Clean-Up is proclaimed forMarch 15-May 15. Pat Elfer of Swamp Eyes promoted the St. Rose Avenuecleanup set April 8-9 and also use of the statewide dumping hotline of 1- 888-LITRBUG.

Heard from New Sarpy resident Paula Richard, who is concerned about oversized, Quonset-hut style “garages” permitted in her neighborhood.

Approved the hiring of Sarah Whalen as legislative liaison for the River Region Caucus, at a cost of $18,000, plus $1,500 expenses. That cost issplit equally with St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes.

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