Livingston Parish road gets temp fix, residents say more needs to be done
SPRINGFIELD – A road in rough shape in Livingston Parish is getting a little attention thanks to 2 On Your Side and a Livingston Parish councilman.
The councilman for District 8 says it’s time to make a change to get more funding to do things the right way, instead of making temporary fixes.
Last week on the morning of our scheduled interview, a Livingston Parish DPW crew was filling potholes with limestone on River Pines Drive in Springfield. It was a surprise to Ed Kirby, or has been complaining about the poor road conditions for months.
“We’re really surprised,” Kirby said.
While that might be true, Kirby also says the surprise isn’t permanent and won’t last.
“All it takes is a rain, one rain and we’re in the middle of a dry spell right now,” he said. “This will hold up for about two weeks.”
Two weeks and Kirby says they’ll be back to fighting potholes and uneven surfaces on River Pines Drive. It’s why he’s still frustrated.
“We’ll be back into a situation again where we have ruts so deep that you literally could lose control of your car if you drive the speed limit,” he said.
Ron Drushel has lived in River Pines Plantation for about 30 years. The community is made up of about 110 homes along the Tickfaw River, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Drushel says the road used to be gravel and was last paved in 1996. It’s held up well, up until last year.
“The debris trucks from the hurricane really tore the road up,” Drushel said. “It’s really gotten bad. It’s a safety issue because people try to avoid the bad places and get into the oncoming lane in a blind curve.”
Kirby says recently he’s been forced to drive off the road twice to avoid being hit by a person dodging a pothole.
“I had to get totally off the road to avoid an accident,” Kirby said.
The road isn’t exactly at the top of the parish’s priority road list. Kirby says someone is going to get hurt dodging holes and as a taxpayer is anxious to find a permanent solution.
“This isn’t right,” he said.
Two On Your Side first questioned the parish about the conditions of River Pines Drive in April. Then, there were no plans to address the holes. The parish says the road is now in the rehab project and will be addressed with patch and overlay. The areas to be done will be determined by the Department of Public Works. The areas should be repaired in the next three to four months.
District 8 Councilman Randy Delatte says he’s been fighting this battle in other areas, too. River Pines Drive isn’t the worst road in his district.
The parish road money comes from a one-cent sales tax that was recently renewed for 15 years. Of the 300 miles of road in Delatte’s district, he says there’s only enough money to fix about 2.2 miles each year. River Pines Drive is longer than that.
Delatte says he’s not the only councilman with this issue and he has a solution.
“If they bond the money they’d do the whole road and every road that’s in this shape in the parish,” he said. “We wouldn’t be wasting money right here because we have a brand new road.”
Whatever the plan, Kirby says it’s time for a change.
“We have a serious safety issue here.”