St. John gets cut from surplus road funds

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 21, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A budget surplus that has ballooned since Hurricane Katrina will help pay for an assortment of road improvements across the River Parishes.

St. John, St. Charles and St. James Parishes are all cashing in on a part of the $695 million, which the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development received from the state Legislature for transportation upgrades across the state.

“The surplus funds are just what Louisiana roads need,” said DOTD Secretary Johnny B. Bradberry. “DOTD is moving quickly to start construction on these projects because we know the positive impact they have in local communities.”

According to a DOTD press release, a low bid of $1.2 million was awarded in November to Barriere Construction of Boutte for asphalt overlay, pavement patching, and other related work on Airline Highway from the US 51 intersection to the Bonnet Carre Spillway Bridge, a 2.4 mile stretch of road in St. Charles Parish.

Other developments included in the surplus include a $1 million to $2 million resurfacing of Interstate 310 in St. Charles Parish, from the I-10 interchange to the north end of the Mississippi River Bridge, as well as a $2.5 million resurfacing project for LA 3127, from Burton Road to LA 3219, in St. James Parish.

A $1.1 million resurfacing of LA 632, from LA 306 to LA 631, in St. Charles Parish is also part of the surplus projects list, and is already underway. Construction on the remaining projects is set to start sometime early next year.

Officials with DOTD said the $695 million is a one-time allocation from the Legislature and the governor.

DOTD’s main source of funding road and bridge construction is through the 16-cent state gasoline tax, which does not keep up with inflation and has lost about half of its value since 1984. As a result, Louisiana now has about $14 billion in road and bridge projects it cannot afford to complete.