OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council unanimously approved a list of roads Wednesday scheduled for $66 million in capital improvements over the next 18 months.
Parish President Bill Fontenot also introduced a parishwide map of proposed gravel and paved roads to be overlaid or rebuilt according to a priority formula determined by connectivity to major roadways.
Funding for the projects will come from a voter-approved 2-cent sales tax collected in areas outside corporate limits since Jan. 1.
Fontenot said he could not estimate how many roads are on the priority list.
“What I can say is there are 360 miles for the roads on the list and that we plan to start bidding projects by June 1,” Fontenot said.
The number of roads scheduled for improvements was determined by their lengths and the revenue that will be available over a 15-year period from the bonded sales tax, Fontenot said.
The council approved bonding the sales tax money at a regular meeting two months ago.
In an interview after Wednesday’s meeting, Fontenot said he does not know specifically how much revenue the sales tax has generated over the past few months, but he is confident there will be enough money to fund the overlay projects .
Fontenot also said he anticipates the parish will collect about $77 million over the 15 years the bond issue is in effect.
If that amount of tax revenue is actually collected, Fontenot said, more projects will be added to the list.
The proposed projects range in size from a 33,100-foot section of WPA Road stretching from U.S. 71 to La. 182 in the northern section of the parish to the 130-foot length of North Sixth Street inside Eunice city limits.
When Fontenot presented the sales tax issue to the voters prior to the October election, he said that every parish road would undergo some type of improvement as money becomes available.
Council member Alvin Stelly asked Fontenot which roads will be paved first.
Fontenot said that isn’t relevant at this point.
“Which one goes first will be determined as we design the projects. The road projects will be determined to their connectivity to other roads and whether they have right of way, drainage and utility concerns,” said Fontenot.
Fontenot said the first road construction projects will be completed throughout the parish council’s 13 districts.
“We want to be aware of geographic distribution as well as connectivity,” said Fontenot.