Parish Council hears about road repairs, stolen signs

Published 8:25 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Discussions on improving parish roads and stolen or missing road signs dominated Monday night’s Washington Parish Council meeting.

Washington Parish Director of Public Works Leo Lucchesi said 64 parish roads are scheduled to be paved in 2015. The parish has completed paving 34 roads.

“That’s 37 total miles in the parish. We’ll have 19 miles paved by the end of the week,” Lucchesi said. “We’re taking advantage of the dry weather. Work crews are making very good progress.”

Along with Red Cross Road in Bogalusa, Washington Parish President Richard Thomas said road crews completed paving Fred Spears, Houston Creel, Bethel and Daniels roads last week.

“I hope the public realizes every linear foot we blacktop is a road we don’t have as much upkeep,” Council Chairman Michael Fussell said. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Thomas said numerous other roads are scheduled to be blacktopped. One in particular is the 1400 block of North Roosevelt Street in front of Sweet Beulah Baptist Church in Bogalusa. The congregation has repeatedly asked for the road to be improved.

Regarding stolen parish road signs, Thomas said he is at a loss at what to do to prevent such losses.

“We are continually having problems with our road signs. We have to order 30 signs per month to replace them,” Thomas said.

District 1 Councilman Kenneth Wheat said various measures have been tried to keep signs from being stolen, but nothing has worked.

The stolen signs are something we’ve dealt with long before my time on the council,” Wheat said. “We’ve thought of every angle. We’ve offered a reward program. We’ve changed the laws, strengthened laws and installed signs in new ways. It’s a serious safety issue and not isolated to Washington Parish.”

Following procedure, Fussell read a statement regarding the parish’s performance of the activities funded under the 2013 Community Development Block Grant Program concerning the Varnado Water Works District.

The statement said the parish received funds to construct a new 600-gallon-per-minute water well on an existing site for Varnado’s Water Works District. Construction contract cost was $736,000. Grant funds awarded to the parish for the project were $800,000.

Also, LSU AgCenter Assistant 4-H Agent Beth Blackwell presented the council an extensive quarterly overview of what the department has done the last three months. The office includes parish agent Henry Harrison, Extension Specialist Dr. Gary Hay, Parenting Educator Keisha Fletcher and Blackwell.