The Webster Parish Police Jury has set a weight limit from end to end on Shadows Lane at 10 tons.
During a road committee meeting Tuesday, Police Jury President Jim Bonsall says a weight limit had not been established on Shadows Lane, but the bridge is limited to 10 tons on a single axle and 15 tons for a double axle vehicle.
“If we’re going to establish something, I think we need to establish something a school bus can go down so it can go across that bridge legally,” he said.
Engineer Brad Graf says the majority of the parish roads aren’t going to hold up to a significant amount of truck traffic.
“The logical thing to do is typically to rely on the weakest link, which are the bridges,” he said. “Posting for the road corresponding to the posting of the weakest bridge would be logical.”
Bonsall made the motion to recommend setting the weight limit for 10 tons, seconded by Steve Lemmons and it carried unanimously. It was passed during the regular meeting.
Road Committee Chairman Steve Ramsey brought up the possibility of using Jack Martin Road as a route to help alleviate the truck traffic from Shadows Lane. Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson says they can set speed limits for both truck and commercial traffic and residential traffic.
“The biggest problem is unless this jury invests in the appropriate personnel to be trained and police this issue, from an overweight standard standpoint, it’s very difficult for you to hit and miss in this game,” he said. “You’d have to have Brad (Graf) evaluate your roads, set weight limits and then have somebody come back behind and enforce it.”
He says they would have to develop a civil procedure to handle any infractions as law enforcement is already overworked.
Bonsall believes the biggest issue is not the weight of the trucks but rather the volume of trucks using the road.
“The damage has been minimal, and you get this volume of traffic,” he said.
In other road news, an agreement to swap some right of way between the police jury and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development would allow the parish to keep Old Highway 80, and DOTD would get a section of Goodwill Road the parish has been maintaining.
“We’ve maintained it and blacktopped it ever since I’ve been here,” Public Works Director Teddy Holloway said.
“DOTD is saying Old Highway 80 theirs and they want to give it to us. There’s a corner of Goodwill Road from Interstate 20 south that’s ours.”
The only issue is the railroad crossing there, he said. The parish has maintained it, but it actually belongs to the state. The railroad crossing has signage, but no signals.
The jury agreed to make the swap with Jackson to assist them on the railroad crossing.
The police jury is also looking at tearing down the parish’s radio equipment building and replacing it with a new concrete building at the Evergreen Tower. Secretary Treasurer Ronda Carnahan says the building is an old wood structure that’s at least 30 years old and is falling apart.
It is a well-used tower, with the parish, the sheriff’s office, and several fire districts using it.
“It’s been in disrepair for years now, and it’s not up to what we have to have with FCC,” she said.
Harrington’s Communications has given them a price of $14,595 for the building plus the slab, and the installation of the generator and the grounding system. A second price of $11,622 was given for a new generator, she said. The total cost would be roughly $26,000. Carnahan says discussion of obtaining a grant for the generator has been underway, but the project would be funded from the general fund.
The jury also approved:
- A resolution for the Town of Sibley to fill potholes on Jones, NE 5th, NW 2nd, SE 4th, SE Johnson, Tharpe and Weatherton Streets using municipality funding.
- A resolution for the Town of Sibley for asphalting over the new culvert at the SE 4th and SE Natchitoches Streets using municipality funding.
The jury discussed:
- The sale of equipment at auction, which brought in roughly $130,000. Public Works Director Teddy Holloway says they sold a backhoe, an excavator and a bush hog. He says they want to purchase a newer excavator that will cost about $120,000.
- A culvert sinkhole repair as necessary on cross drain culvert located at North Strong Street draining to the main drainage ditch. The sinkhole is on private property, and as long as it’s on private property, the police jury cannot touch it. However, the jury can provide some fill dirt to allow the property owner to fill in the sinkhole.