Despite all the rain and some unexpected turns, Livingston Parish’s road overlay project has hit the halfway mark on schedule and under budget.
The seven-month project involves repairs and resurfacing on 44 roads across the parish at an expected cost of nearly $4.5 million.
Sam Digirolamo, the parish’s public works director, said the work should be completed close to the scheduled Oct. 4 end date, unless the weather continues to hamper plans.
“We’re actually a little ahead of schedule now, but the rain is killing us,” Digirolamo said. “We were a couple weeks ahead, but the contractor’s been kind of part-timing it for the last three to four weeks.”
Digirolamo said the project is also under budget at this point, although some of the savings will be reallocated to South Point Drive, off La. 16 about 3 miles southeast of Denham Springs.
South Point, the main road into a subdivision of more than 700 lots, is the No. 1 priority on the Parish Council’s roadwork list for this year. Because of the number of homes and how close they sit to the road, parish officials decided to use a wet-mix soil cement there, instead of a dry powder, to cut down on dust.
Engineer Gasper Chifici, of Burk-Kleinpeter Inc., said the new product, called a cement slurry, is more expensive — adding about $20,000 to $30,000 to the cost of work for South Point — but also should provide a stronger base because the cement is more evenly mixed.
Chifici said even with the change, the parish is running about $100,000 under budget overall at this point.
Councilwoman Joan Landry, whose district includes South Point, said the subdivision’s homeowners are looking forward to seeing their roadwork completed. The contractor already has stripped the existing asphalt in preparation for overlay work to begin in the next week or two.
Work elsewhere in Denham Springs hit a snag last week, when crews broke a small gas line and a water service line on Lansdowne Drive, just north of the high school campus.
Chifici said the city’s utility lines are buried too shallow in some places, creating a problem for the contractor who was trying to cut down about a foot into the soil and hit the lines after only 8 inches.
“So we met with the mayor and councilmen and put our heads together,” Chifici said. “The base is not that bad, so we’re going to do some repairs on the subbase and base and overlay with 2 inches there.”
Those changes could save the parish money overall, as the contractor will not be soil-cementing as deep in those areas, Chifici said.
Road crews also had to redo some work to Versailles Avenue in Watson, after a garbage truck rolled through a section of newly laid road before it had cured, Chifici said. A 50-foot length of the road had to be dug out and relaid.
Councilman Jim Norred, who represents the Watson area, said the crews did an excellent job in repairing the road. “It all looks good and is finished now. I’m impressed with their work so far.”
Sixteen roads have seen completed repair jobs since the project began in March, with another seven underway, according to a spreadsheet Chifici’s office provided the Parish Council clerk this week.
Roads slated for work in the coming weeks include South Point; Hammack Road, which runs between La. 16 and Walker South; South Satsuma Road; Chene Blanc in Maurepas; and a smattering of smaller roads in Walker and elsewhere.
Hammack, South Satsuma and Chene Blanc are scheduled for multiple phases of work over the next three years, with only the first phase for each included in this year’s overlay program.
Council Chairman Chance Parent said if this year’s work list appears to be nearing completion significantly under budget, the council may choose to begin work on the second phase of a road already on the list, rather than adding new roads to the schedule.
Not every road slated for multiple phases of improvements could benefit from last-minute revisions, though. If work crews have completed the first phase and moved elsewhere by the time officials certify that additional funding is available, then remobilizing the equipment to go back could significantly increase the cost of doing the extra work, Parent said.
That means multiphase projects like Sims Road and Perkins Road in Watson, which are either completed or nearing completion of the first phase, may be unable to take advantage of any extra funding this year.
Parent said he believes the overlay work is likely to be on-budget, rather than significantly under, by the time the list is finished. But some roads may require more base or drainage work than originally planned. “I think in the end it’s probably going to be a wash, but we’ll see,” he said.
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen. , and call her at (225) 336-6981.