Road deteriorations cause changes to how they are built in parish subdivisions

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Parish Engineer Butch Ford delivers a copy of proposed ordinance amendments to jury member Rick Avery. (Courtesy photo)

By Jennyne Pinter, special to the Press-Tribune

The deterioration of public roads is an issue that has plagued local subdivisions to the point where the Bossier Parish Police Jury is making changes to ordinances to fix the issue.

“We’ve noticed over the last three years a number of developers and contractors are calling with the problem of water leakage,” Parish Engineer Butch Ford explained to the jurors. “It all stemmed, I believe, from the 2015 flooding of the river. Up until 2015, I received just one phone call from Rosedale. Since then, though, everybody has had to well pump.”

Several days prior to the police jury meeting, Ford visited the Legacy subdivision, about two miles from the river, where the water table was at 4-feet. Ford said they were having to put in a water line 10-feet in the ground to accommodate the well point.

Also recently, engineers for property in Willow Heights had to call Ford wanting to install sewer services in the lots, but ran into a problem with the placement of the Parish’s drain pipe. If they were to lay sewer lines under the drain pipe, they would hit the well point, whereas if they were to go over the drain pipe, they would not.

“Looking at this problem,” Ford continued, “and realizing that our roadways and river bottom are not lasting as long up here, we’re having to maintain them a lot sooner than expected. Our soil-cement bases that we’ve used in the past and the amount of asphalt is not holding up.”

Ford met with the developers and engineers a month ago to discuss the changes he had in mind to address the problem.

Police Jury Dist. 3 Representative Wanda Bennett said that she and several others attended the meeting with Ford and the developers. 

“There were a couple of developers, one in particular, that met because they already had done concrete and all in the heavily used areas. I drove through and looked at that,” Bennett said. “Because what Butch is saying to us is that once those roads are in, once we accept them into our system, then forevermore we are the ones paying to have them fixed. Our crews are having to go out and redo and redo. We’re talking about using taxpayer money forevermore to continue fixing them. And it could get dangerous at times if the water table continues to rise.”

Now, main thoroughfares and boulevards in subdivisions will be required to have a 10-inch base of crushed aggregate drainable material, either stone or concrete, plus a three and one-half inch layer of asphalt. Previously, a 10-12 inch base of soil cement and a two-inch asphalt topping was required.

Cul-de-sacs and intersections are now required to be concrete. Side streets will still be constructed with a soil cement base and two inches of asphalt since traffic is lighter than on main thoroughfares.

Bennett went on to comment that what Ford is proposed may not sit well with some of the developers due to the fact that it will cost them more to construct the roads. Bennett believes that it is more fair for the developers to put the additional money into the construction of the roads, however, than to make it the burden of the taxpayers for the indefinite future.

“I find a problem with not going forward with what Mr. Ford has recommended in this,” Bennett said.