The Webster Parish Police Jury is waiting for approval from the state to begin purchasing materials to permanently repair roads damaged by the March 8 flood.
Public Works Director Teddy Holloway says they have 147 roads that will need some sort of repair, from patching holes to rebuilding complete washouts at drainage areas. They will not focus on priority roads this year, he says, but will instead focus their efforts and funding towards repairing the roads.
“We’re about to get permission from the state to use our parish transportation money on this,” he said. “We don’t have the money to pay for repairs unless we use our parish transportation fund. Most of our money comes from the parish transportation fund for our priority roads, and we have to go by a list. We don’t have the money to fix it ourselves.”
He said that the parish transportation fund is part state-funded and part parish-funded. If they can use that money, he says, then the parish will be able to start repairing these roads. He says they already have verbal permission to begin repairing the roads, but they are waiting for that permission in writing.
The parish transportation fund must abide by the Parish Transportation Act, police jury officials said, and this is the reason for seeking approval from the Department of Transportation and Development.
The parish road system is funded by four sources: the parish transportation funds, the sales tax fund, Road District A Fund, which can only be used for the southern portion of the parish, and Road District B Fund, which can only be used for the northern section of the parish.
From theses sources, there is roughly $1 million budgeted for road materials.
He says instead of buying materials for the priority list, once they get permission from the state in writing, then they will begin purchasing materials to permanently repair the flood-damaged roads.
The priority road list is the list of roads that get repaired or refurbished every year as part of a five-year plan, Holloway said. There is no priority list for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he says, as all of them will need some kind of repair.
Until that time, he says, the parish will continue to fill in washouts with gravel and maintain the temporary repairs.