Street projects, sewer repairs go to bid in St. John Parish

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 3, 2012



LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Tuesday authorized parish administrators to seek bids on annual projects to improve asphalt roadways and repair sidewalks and driveways throughout the parish.

The parish also opened bids on another round of parishwide sewer system repairs to remedy an ongoing rainwater infiltration problem.

The asphalt roadway improvements involve a prioritized list of roads throughout the parish that are in need of repair or other maintenance. The parish is compiling a list that will be made available to council members once it is submitted to parish engineers.

St. John Chief Financial Officer Randy Vincent said the parish has roughly $1 million in the public works street maintenance budget for the repairs. He said any roads outside of the budgeted amount will be carried over to next year and would be first on the list unless funds come available this year.

The parish is also bidding a project to repair various concrete sidewalks and driveways as well as damaged street sections. Vincent said the parish is prioritizing a list that would be submitted to the contractor for repair as needed. He said sidewalk and driveway repairs related to utility work would be completed in-house to expedite the process.

The parish received three bids for the sewer system rehabilitation project, with the lowest coming from Gulf Coast Underground of Mobile, Ala., which bid $169,650.

The estimated budget for the project is $200,000, funded through a parish sewer construction account.

Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said the project involves installation of electronic parameters to assist with troubleshooting at about 50 sewer lift stations throughout the parish. Braud said the mechanism, known as telemetry, will help the utilities department minimize wastewater overflows.

“It is a mechanism similar to what is in use at most of our pumping stations,” Braud said. “When the water in the system fills up it signals when lift stations need to come on or go off as water flows through the system.”

Braud said the project is scheduled for completion in early 2013.

In other action, the council authorized renewal of a $6,500 contract with FirstCall Network for the parish’s emergency telephone notification service. Braud said the system has been in use for the past 14 years to notify residents of the parish in an emergency at any of the industrial plants within the parish. Industry absorbs $5,000 of the cost, leaving the remaining balance of $1,500 to be paid by the parish.

The council also approved a resolution to authorize the parish to apply for a state grant for pedestrian safety improvements as part of the “Safe Routes to School” program. The parish is seeking a $250,000 grant to improve sidewalks, lighting and intersection markings around East St. John Elementary School.

St. John Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Rodgers said the grant application for East St. John was submitted during the last grant cycle, but the parish narrowly missed out on funding. She said the parish will continue to seek grants for similar improvements near John L. Ory Magnet, St. Joan of Arc School and Emily C. Watkins Elementary.

Under the advisement of St. John District Attorney Tom Daley, the parish also approved a resolution to submit a request to the state Legislature to amend the statute that sets the number of members to the parish’s Board of Adjusters.

The existing parish board has five members and two alternates, but the council wants to increase that to seven with two alternates. Daley said other surrounding parishes had submitted similar requests that have gotten approval.