Road rehab work to be launched soon in St. Helena

St. Helena Parish officials say they hope to give construction crews the green light to start a major rehabilitation of parish roads within the next two months.

The parish has hired Diamond B Construction, of Monroe, to perform the project, but Police Juror Major Coleman said Wednesday that parish officials are waiting for the weather to clear up before giving the firm the go-ahead.

Parish officials have not established a time line for the road project but hope to give Diamond B notice to start by April or May, Coleman said.

“This is not a good season to do the roads,” Coleman said. “We went on and bid it out to try to get a good price on it.”

Parish officials initially only wanted to repave about 30 miles of road throughout the parish, but the Police Jury voted Tuesday to add about nine more miles to the project for 39 miles total, or about 6.5 miles in each of the parish’s six districts.

Coleman has said most of the targeted roadways come from a priority list written when the parish created a master plan of development about three years ago.

The parish began eyeing the road rehabilitation project after voters in May approved rededicating some parish tax dollars to the road projects.

The Police Jury will also pay for the project using two separate bonds that the Police Jury voted Tuesday to approve.

The Police Jury voted unanimously to issue a $1.5 million bond supported by ad valorem taxes and another $2.15 million bond supported by parish sales taxes to help pay for the road renovations.

The bonds will now go to the State Bond Commission for approval.

Parish officials believe the road rehabilitation program will cost about $3 million, Coleman said.

Professional Engineering Consultants of Baton Rouge, has been drafting initial plans for St. Helena’s roadway projects.