CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Flooding in parts of the City of Central means water over the road. In the same stretch of Frenchtown Road, neighbors said they've seen several wrecks because the road is too narrow.
City officials plan to fix both problems this fall using just under one million dollars of a half-cent roadway tax.
Central's Chief Administrative Officer David Barrow said for years Frenchtown between Greenwell Springs and the Central Thruway has been plagued because of its size. Years ago, it was an old gravel road. In recent years it was overlayed by the parish, but the narrow road continues to be an issue.
"Been a lot of accidents over the years, due to people driving off the road," said Barrow.
Neighbors said they've seen cars take out gas lines, trees and end up in ditches all because there's no place for them to go when and if they run off the street.
Barrow said it makes sense to widen the road on both sides. He added that some time ago there was a situation where a dump truck and a fire truck were trying to pass each other on Frenchtown Road. He said the dump truck was so close to the center line that the fire truck had no choice on ending up somewhat in the ditch.
The project is estimated to cost $800,000. That will allow for one foot widening in each direction, giving drivers 10 foot travel lanes.
Before any of that work can start, another project has to be done.
One to fix the draining in that stretch.
People said the ditches tend to hold water and when they can hold no more the water rises over the road in places. One thing contributing to that problem, Barrow said, is that some people have put in different size driveway culverts without proper permits. So while some people have 12-inch culverts, he said others may have 20-inch ones.
The same $800,000 will be used to replace all those culverts, making them equal size. That, Barrow said, should help improve drainage and provide a shoulder.
Barrow said the parish is supposed to do more improvements further down Frenchtown Road near Beaver Bayou Bridge. The city will then handle more ditch work at the Planchet Road intersection.
There are also plans to lower the speed limit between Greenwell Springs and the Central Thruway. City leaders will also be meeting with neighbors there to see what other safety improvements can be done.