The Webster Parish Police Jury will know later in the year whether they will get reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover expenses to repair roads damaged in the March 2016 floods.
Road Superintendent Teddy Holloway said they need about $400,000 to repair and properly fix the roads damaged from the March 2016 floods. Currently, roads that have been washed out and damaged have temporary repairs until funding from FEMA comes in.
Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson would not give a definitive date as to when the reimbursements would come in, but he did give the jurors a little hope that it would be in before the end of the year.
“I would expect that before the third quarter of this year we should know,” he said. “We have a very real need here in Webster Parish, but it pales in comparison to what’s going on in some of the parishes in southern parishes. They have absolutely no idea what FEMA intends to do, so we’re eight months ahead of them, and we’re closer to a resolution, but Caddo, Bossier and Webster hasn’t gotten any money.”
Police Jury President Jim Bonsall said at this time they are trying to decide whether they can go ahead and spend some road money to begin repairs.
“We know we need to work on priority roads, but we don’t want to spend ourselves down to where we don’t have any options if something happens,” he said. “We’re still in a position where we really can’t fix them.”
In other road news, the speed limit for tractor-trailers traveling on Jack Martin Road has been reduced to 15 miles per hour.
The Webster Parish Police Jury voted to lower the speed limit due to ongoing issues with saltwater trucks and tractor-trailers speeding and road repairs. Juror Steve Lemmons, District 7, said he hopes the reduction in the speed limit will help cut down on repairs.
“We posted a speed limit for truck traffic, and this road is worsening,” he said. “I’ve had several calls with people complaining about the traffic, and with advisement from our legal counsel, we think we need to drop it from 25 mph to 15 mph. The road is coming apart, and as summer progresses, it’s going to get a lot worse.”
The complaints about Jack Martin Road began when Nelson Energy opened a saltwater disposal site. The road is not rated for tractor-trailers, yet heavy truck traffic continues. Lemmons said the speed limit reduction would apply to just tractor-trailers. The speed limit for normal vehicle traffic remains at 35.
The 15 mph speed limit will apply to the road from end to end.