City to fix MLK Drive potholes

Published 8:26 am Friday, October 23, 2015

With funds left over from the recently-completed Austin Street Improvement Project, city officials decided the time was right to improve Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, long known for its potholes in the center of the street.

The $247,000 Austin Street Improvement Project included overlaying the street and striping. Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said improvements to MLK won’t be as extensive as Austin Street just yet, but they will come.

Work on the MLK project is tentatively scheduled to begin either Monday or Tuesday, depending on weather conditions.

“We made the decision Monday to piggyback off the Austin Street grant,” Perrette said. “There was a little money left over from the Austin Street resurfacing to do a little bit more work.

“I’m adding $22,000 to the money that is left over and is coming from the Street Fund to mill Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.”

Perrette said improvements to MLK would take time.

“It’s not going to be an overlay because we have the asphalt cracking and have an inch to an inch and a half potholes from the asphalt splitting.” Perrette said. “This will provide a smoother riding surface for our citizens. I wish that I could overlay the street, but we have 18-20-foot deep water and sewage lines in the middle of the street that are continuously sinking. To repair Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to its fullest is a $4 million job. That includes asphalt.

“It’s imperative that we fix our infrastructure before we can even look at overlaying that street. This is a temporary fix that will allow us to have a smoother riding surface. We’re going to take it down to the concrete. I must stress that we have to fix what’s underneath the road before we can have it asphalted or anything.”

Perrette said sand in the middle of MLK is the reason for the road continuing to sink.

“At least we’ll have a better riding surface than what we have now,” Perrette said. “As a citizen of Bogalusa, I am aware of the conditions of our streets and diligently working on our main thoroughfares. My main focus is working on the main thoroughfares, rather than neighborhood streets.”

Perrette said other city streets she hoped to resurface in the near future include Plaza Street, where Our Lady of the Angels Hospital is located, Rio Grande Avenue and Arkansas Avenue.

“These streets are being addressed, but not as quickly as I or citizens would like, but we’re taking baby steps,” Perrette said. “I can’t spend money I don’t have. While addressing the city deficit, we are working on our infrastructure problem with the streets within our means, and we’re not going to go deeper in debt doing it. We’re taking it one street at the time.”    

Perrette said improved road infrastructure is essential to move the city forward.

“It is important for us to move forward and improve our streets to entice businesses to come here, so we need the main thoroughfares done,” Perrette said. “I can’t stress enough to our citizens to buy local and shop local this upcoming holiday season.”