Repairs and overlay of a local truck route and its infrastructure are anything but black and white when it comes to responsibility, according to City of Minden Public Works Director George Rolfe, state Rep. Gene Reynolds and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
"When you get all these highways – federal, state and local and who is responsible for what, it gets a little gray," Reynolds said.
The stretch of road in question is between Lee Street and U.S. Hwy. 80 at the intersection of Sheppard/Dennis and East Union streets. It also includes where Sheppard Street begins at Shreveport Road.
"That's the truck route," Reynolds said. "And there is some confusion about who that belongs to."
Rolfe and Reynolds both said there is concern about the roadway, especially as it relates to accidents on Interstate 20.
"That's the route all the trucks ... all the traffic end up taking when there's an accident," Reynolds said. "So, it's very important."
Rolfe said there are issues with leveling and drainage, especially in the area on Sheppard Street near Plymouth Street.
"Hopefully, we can jointly figure out how to solve the problem of the ongoing maintenance issue," Rolfe said. "Because of the water, the road is deteriorated. The curb and gutter need to be replaced."
The city has already accomplished some sewer work in the area.
"There is a corrugated pipe that runs under the road. It's been repaired numerous times and will have to be replaced. That will probably cost more than $100,000," Rolfe predicted. "It's going to take money to repair the drainage, the road surface, and we are all in concert on this – it's just who pays for it?"
In addition to replacing the pipe, overlay work of the section between Lee Street and Union will be a significant cost, he said. "It's a major project that is not in the city's budget."
The group has met twice, most recently at the intersection of Sheppard and Hwy. 80. Joining DOTD Shreveport-Bossier district administrator David North, Rolfe, Mayor Tommy Davis and Reynolds were Madden Contracting owner James Madden and his son, David.
"That intersection is a big problem for trucks turning there," Rolfe said. "Most tractor-trailer rigs are 53 feet long. If you are going eastbound, you have to cross lanes to make the right-hand turn. It's clearly marked as a truck route. The traffic coming westbound down Union, has to stop well in advance."
The traffic light needs improvement there, as well, he pointed out.
"That's DOTD's issue," Rolfe said. "They don't have enough right-of-way there to work."
Keith McClung, who owns McClung's Service Station at the intersection, said tractor-trailer rigs travel the truck route all day long.
"When the traffic is bad, it bottlenecks at that intersection," McClung said. "Something definitely needs to be done there because those big rigs have a lot of trouble making that turn."
McClung, whose business has been located at the intersection since 1976, said he believes it is at least the second busiest intersection in the city.
Reynolds said he feels a deal to fix the intersection and drainage will be hammered out eventually.
"Regardless of who it belongs to, there are things Robert (state senator Adley) and I can do to 'swap' sections of road," Reynolds said. "The city could take a section of road that really belongs to the state and then the state could take over that."
"It's not anything that would start any time soon," Rolfe stressed. "We have to determine the scope of the work, cost of the work and then figure out who's going to pay for it and how."