David North of the Department of Transportation and Development met with the Webster Parish Police Jury earlier this week to make them aware of a road transfer program that could greatly benefit the jury. Essentially the Police Jury would adopt Dorcheat Road, otherwise known as Highway 3008, and in return would get roughly 4 million dollars in road development credits that could be used for any road projects the Jury would like.
“There is a road in Webster Parish that is absolutely ripe for rightsizing, and that’s Dorcheat Road. Dorcheat Runs partway up and turns into a state highway, 3008. For those of you not familiar with the highway numbering system, a 3000 series state highway is a highway that was never intended to be a permanent part of the state highway system. It was a temporary possession that turned into a permanent possession,” said North.
“In the rightsizing program what will happen is the state will bring it to a very good condition, and then give to Webster Parish in consideration for taking the road into their system, 40 years worth of maintenance budget that is averaged over the state highways of what it costs to keep them up.”
Given the limitations of the DOTD’s budget, it turns out that paying parishes to take over possession of lower traffic roads is more cost effective in the long term. Since the road being taken over the parish is a low traffic road, and the amount of money allocated is based on an average to take care of all state highways for the DOTD, the parish is poised to actually gain money given that the cost of maintaining the road will be lower than the total amount given.
“Over the past 42 years, it has averaged a traffic count of 255 a day. And where that is a disadvantage to me is that our maintenance money and operations money has to spread out over everything, and it’s obvious that 371 which carries about 478 vehicles a day is going to get money before 3008,” said North.
The amount given to the parish will be 436,749.09 per mile in transfer credits, and the transfer credits can be used for any highway project that the parish deems necessary. Bridge maintenance funds would be included on top of this amount as well. With 3008 being roughly 10 miles, the parish would get close to 4 million dollars in credits.
“The overall benefit to your road system will overall be greater than what you’re taking in. Because you’re going to get our low traffic road with high traffic money associated with it, because that money is predicated on what it takes to keep a state highway up,” said North.