Pump station work still delayed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 24, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY – Managing Editor

HAHNVILLE – A decision to authorize more than $421,000 to be spent on the Bayou Trepagnier pump station, part of the East Bank hurricane protection levee project, was tabled Monday.

As residents complained of how the cost of the change order was saddled onto the parish, and hence the taxpayers, the council voted to table the matter to consult first with the relevant district councilman, Dickie Duhe, who was unable to attend.

The parish council first approved a $7.9 million contract to D&O Contractors in September to build the pump station.

However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted construction in November, stating the federal agency had not yet reviewed the plans, as required.

Following their review, the Corps mandated additional work, leading to the change order.

This additional work includes adding six to eight inches of concrete to a slab, costing $94,000, and a diesel fuel storage tank, costing $64,888.

Destrehan resident Thelma Schexnayder said the fault should not have been laid at the feet of the parish. Rather, she continued, project engineer Evans-Graves should have bitten the bullet, as the contract was awarded at their prompting.

“If they were supposed to get everything straight before they started, they need to eat this,” Schexnayder said.

Randall Abadie of Destrehan likewise complained and accused the hurry-up to the project was politically motivated by the Laque administration.

He quoted from a letter from the Corps which stated the project should not have begun until after engineering was approved by that agency.

His wife, Dee Abadie, joined he majority of those council members who voted for the project on Sept. 8.

Councilman Brian Fabre called to table the matter until he had the chance to talk with Norco area council member Dickie Duhe. The council unanimously agreed to do so.

During the same meeting, the Coastal Zone Manager, Earl Matherne, presented a resolution for council approval to offer a letter of no objection to New Orleans River View RV Park.

The plan calls for a batture-side upscale RV park, to be built on a former sand pit, behind the levee at Fairfield Plantation Oaks Subdivision.

The problem arose because St. Rose area council member April Black had not been previously appraised of the project before it came to a council vote.

Black said afterward she was aware of the park project, but only by reading the agenda last week when she received it in her council package.

Black did not fault Matherne, but instead felt the project’s developers should have approached her about their plans, already two years underway.

In other activity, the parish council:

€ Approved a proclamation for the United Way/Valero bridge run, set April 3.

€ Heard from Thelma Schexnayder and Gwen Dufrene, regarding the Luling Oxidation Pond.

€ Approved the re-commissioning of a citizen’s subcommittee on comprehensive building codes for the parish.

€ Approved a resolution requesting the Louisiana Congressional delegation to correct the funding formula for the LIHEAP program, which shortchanges Louisiana resident in low-income household energy assistance.

€ Approved a contract with Boh Brothers construction for Murray Hill Subdivision subsurface drainage, totaling $535,964.

€ Approved a contract with Fleming Construction for the installation of box culverts on Primrose Drive in Luling, the project cost totaling $377,032.

€ Approved a resubdivision of a tract along Magnolia Ridge Road in Boutte for Magnolia Meadows Subdivision, taking an 8.5-acre tract and dividing it into seven “ranchettes.”

€ Approved a resubdivision of eight farm lots in Sunset Drainage District into 22 two-acre lots near Boutte.

€ Approved a grant application to the state Department of Environmental Quality for participation in the Louisiana Litter Abatement Grant Program.