LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two projects in Livingston Parish are being considered; the Cook Road extension and the Juban Road extension. The problem is that the council and parish president aren't headed down the same street.
Cook Road in Denham Springs was put on a priority road list shortly after Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks took office. Ricks said the priority road list, which is separate from the parish road list, was voted on by him, several mayors and other officials. They ranked Cook Road in the top five, he says, because of what it will eventually mean for the Juban Crossing development.
"It'll be the thruway, actually will run parallel to the interstate between Juban and Pete's Highway," Ricks said.
According to Ricks, the project already has $4.5 million in funding from the state. It needs another $300,000 match from the parish which the council has to approve.
"It's a good project," Chance Parent, one of the councilman said. "It's not a good project right now."
Parent said the council members are not against the Cook Road extension but believe there is somewhere else the council would rather dedicate their road funds.
"We'd rather spend that $300,000 on Juban Extension because it'll benefit way more people than Cook Road," Parent said. He said there are a lot of East-West roads connecting the parish, but not enough North-South connectors. Extending Juban Road across 190 through to Lockhart, he says, would do that and alleviate congestion elsewhere.
"We've got to pick what's going to benefit the citizens and relieve traffic off Denham Springs and Walker, and Juban extensions is where it's at," Parent said.
The Juban Road extension, according to Parent, would move 25,000 cars from the North and South.
Right now he says they want the state and state legislators to sign a letter the council passed, asking the state to take a second look at the Juban widening project and Juban Road Extension. The council believes they may be able to forgo some roundabouts that are planned for the road and instead fund the extension.
"This has turned into a big me versus them, them versus senators, legislators and all that. But really we can do both projects," Ricks said.
Ricks says the council can approve the needed match-money and fund the initial study for the Juban extension project. He says if the council does not approve the money for the Cook Road extension, they could risk losing the $4.5 million from the state.
However, some on the council say Cook Road could end up needing more funding.
"We're not against the project. But when you don't have the money, you've got to pick what's best," Parent said.
What's best depends on who you talk to in Livingston Parish.