CLINTON — The poor condition of many parish roads and bridges came to the forefront at an April 19 East Feliciana Parish Police Jury meeting when landowners complained about not being able to use them to harvest timber.
Landowner Joe Harvey said he wants to cut timber on property he owns on Thompson Creek Road west of Norwood, but the operation is stymied because the land is situated between bridges that are said to be unsafe for loaded log trucks.
Harvey said one bridge is in West Feliciana Parish, while another that would give him access to La. 19 in Norwood is in East Feliciana, but it is posted with a sign banning its use by log trucks.
The discussion veered into questioning who posted the “no log trucks” signs, because Parish Manager Jody Moreau said the jury has not purchased that type of sign and other speakers said the signs should not single out log trucks without specifying the bridges’ weight limits.
Logging contractor Dennis Aucoin, a former police juror, said his inspection of the bridge blocking access to Harvey’s land revealed that it has broken stringers and possibly more problems.
The discussion also touched on whether garbage and concrete trucks could possibly cause bridges to collapse because of their weight. Aucoin said he believes those vehicles weigh more than log trucks because the latter distribute their weight over a longer distance.
Another landowner said, although he paid Louisiana severance taxes on his harvested timber, he had to go through Mississippi to get it to a mill.
Moreau said the jury has nine bridges that need repair, but some cannot be fixed by using the jury’s equipment, noting that the jury cannot drive piling. A contractor could do the work, but the repairs would be expensive, he said.
The discussion ended with Moreau agreeing to look over a state inspector’s report on the problem bridge and give the jury a cost estimate for repairs. Juror Chrissie O’Quin asked that the report be given at the next jury meeting.
Later in the meeting, during a public comment period, Ellis Road resident Wedge Barthe criticized the jury on several fronts, including announcing that residents with garbage complaints should call the new collection contractor to report issues instead of the jury.
He complimented jurors, however, for planning to hire a parish engineer, saying the jury should have someone responsible for developing solutions to problems and making sure they are corrected.
In other action, the jury:
- Heard a report from Moreau about efforts to correct a problem with cable communication work interfering with parish Fire Department pagers. Instead of receiving reports of emergencies on their pagers, firefighters are hearing Christian radio broadcasts. He said the problem may be in the way a cable company is splicing its cables.
- Accepted the resignation of the Lisa Shaffer, the jury’s treasurer, effective June 30.
- Authorized building inspector Larry Thompson to begin part-time work at his current pay rate.
- Announced a drive-thru coronavirus vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 1 at RKM Primary Care in Clinton. The Louisiana National Guard is operating the drive-thru clinic.