ZACHARY — Three companies have offered to appraise properties along McHost Road, allowing the road improvement project to begin to move forward, attorney John Hopewell told the council Tuesday.

Two of the appraisal companies submitted proposals based on a price per lot, while the third offered to work on a flat-fee basis.

“We’re not comparing apples to apples yet, but we will quickly,” Hopewell said. He added that the city administration will make a decision within the next week about which firm would do the work.

After the meeting, Hopewell explained that the appraisal work does not need to go through a bidding process because it is a “personal contract” akin to hiring an attorney or an accountant for the city.

McHost Road, which runs about 2.8 miles between La. 64 and Pride-Port Hudson Road, has been criticized as a dangerous route because it is narrow, with sharp curves. Trees along the road also obstruct drivers’ visibility.

The proposed $3 million project would widen the road from its current two 9.5-foot travel lanes to two 11.5-foot lanes with 4-foot shoulders. Some trees would also be removed.

Appraisals are needed so that the city can began legal proceedings if necessary to obtain the servitudes required for the road improvements. So far, about 30 of more than 90 affected landowners have agreed to donate perpetual 10-foot servitudes.

At the Feb. 26 council meeting, Hopewell said that even those servitudes that have already been donated need to be appraised in case the donation falls through.

Appraisal is also necessary so that both the landowner and the city know what the property is worth, officials have said.

Other business before the council included:

ANNEXATION: The mayor said that he has begun a discussion with attorney Michael Hebert about annexing Mount Pleasant Road at La. 61 into the city of Zachary.

Hebert worked with the city on annexing land for the Americana development under construction near La. 64.

Mount Pleasant Road is due to be transformed into a four-lane highway under East Baton Rouge Parish’s Green Light Program. The mayor said that he expects the improved road to develop into an important business corridor for the city.