DONALDSONVILLE — Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. told the City Council on Tuesday he is waiting on word from state Sen. Troy Brown on possible state funding to help pave more of the city’s Mississippi River levee top.
The project is part of the city’s riverfront development plan. The first part of the plan saw a short portion of the levee top paved, along with the addition of lights, benches and trash cans.
The extension would see the city use asphalt to pave the levee top from behind People’s Water Co. east to Lee Avenue.
Sullivan said the city had originally planned to pave the levee to Thibaut Drive. However, when bids on the project came more than $200,000 above the proposed budget amount, the project was scaled back.
Sullivan said bids on the reduced project still came in $100,000 over budget.
“The problem is that only two companies bid on the project, and neither has their own asphalt plant,” the mayor said. “So, they have to subcontract that part out, which adds to the cost.”
Sullivan said the city already has invested about $48,000 into the extension project, mainly covering administrative and surveying costs.
“The problem is that if we rebid it, we have to rebid the original project, which would extend out to Thibaut Drive,” he said.
Councilman Emile Spano expressed his dissatisfaction with the project’s pitfalls.
“These need to be looked at better when they’re first presented to us,” Spano said. “To have bids come in that much over our budget is crazy. We can’t be that far off.”
Initial bids on other large projects in the city, including the planned Crescent Park renovation and the new Public Works building, also came in over budget, Sullivan said. He added that the city received $180,000 from its Industrial Development Board to help cover the overage on the Crescent Park project.
Sullivan cited a boom in area construction projects and busy contractors as a reason for the high bids.
“We need to be more cautious on these projects from the get-go,” Spano said. “Nothing turns out like it’s supposed to.”