Zachary plans takeover of some state roads

The Zachary City Council voted unanimously to consider entering into an agreement whereby the city would take possession of certain state roads within the city limits.

During a work session before Tuesday’s council meeting, Dow Hillhouse, of Professional Engineering Consultants Corp., a third-party contractor with the city, explained that the state would bring all the streets “up to standard” before turning them over to the city.

The agreement would include all bridges and traffic lights along the roads.

He estimated that the city would receive $7.63 million from the state for taking over the roads, which include La. 64 from La. 964 to Plank Road, the state portion of Old Baker Road and East Central Avenue.

Hillhouse said engineers had tried to determine which roads would be most beneficial to the city.

“The reason we didn’t go all the way (on La. 64) to (U.S.) 61 is because Mount Pleasant Road is under the Green Light Plan,” he said, referring to an East Baton Rouge Parish initiative to improve roadway infrastructure.

He added that La. 964 near the East Feliciana Parish line would be difficult to maintain because of the deep ditches on either side of the road.

City Public Works Director Chris Davezac said that he didn’t expect maintenance of the roads would cost more than the amount the city would receive under the proposal.

Other items considered by the council included:

MUNICIPAL SEWERS: The council discussed borrowing another $5 million from the state Department of Environmental Quality to complete ongoing sewer upgrades within the city.

The DEQ already has loaned the city $9.3 million, which Zachary will repay at an interest rate of 0.95 percent over 22 years.

“It will be a total of $14.3 million to $14.5 million when we are finished. The city can’t handle any more debt than that,” Davezac said.

The project includes rehabilitation of lift stations and sewer line improvements. Also in the plan is a pump station for the Americana Development that will cost $400,000 as well as $100,000 to connect Americana sewer lines to the main line.

The cost of the station will be paid back to the city by the Americana Economic Development District through sales tax funds generated in the development complex, Davezac said.