Donaldsonville business owners frustrated with ongoing highway repair

Donaldsonville business owners frustrated with ongoing highway repair
(Source: Shane Guillot )
(Source: Shane Guillot )
(Source: Shane Guillot )
(Source: Shane Guillot )

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Some business owners in Donaldsonville claim the state is wasting their time and money. Marchand Drive, the roadway that runs through the heart of the city, has been under construction for nearly a year. People faced with construction crews daily said they are not seeing any progress.

Shane Guillot, an Associate Broker, sits behind piles of paperwork begging for his attention. But for months, he said, he has had to deal with a constant distraction right outside his office window.

"It looks like crap outside, and it just doesn't seem to be getting any better," Guillot said.

Construction equipment is parked in front of local businesses right now but, Guillot said, when the sun is out, state workers stop traffic on Marchand Drive, also known as Highway 3089, to make repairs. Guillot said it has been happening for roughly a year.

"Pretty much from the time they start to the time they stop, they are detouring traffic to two lanes then blocking up this lane," Guillot said.

But it is not the roadblocks that Guillot has a problem with. He said it appears the state is finishing a job it already paid a contractor to do early last year.

"It's the second time they have been out to address the same problem they had the first time," Guillot said.

There are clear sections of uneven asphalt, cracks, and patchwork on the highway. The state said the $2.6 million project was to replace 2.87 miles of the highway with asphalt. That was two years ago.

"I'm a concerned tax payer. I'd like to know why this is taking so long. Why it was not done right the first time, and why the contractor who originally did this was not held accountable for it," Guillot said.

Spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation, Rodney Mallet, told 9News 15 months after the contractor finished the project, the state discovered 600 feet of the roadway had old concrete beneath the asphalt surface. It crumbled under the weight of heavy trucks. Mallet said the cost to do the repairs is $80,000.

Mallet said the state would have had to make them regardless. But locals who have been forced to look at the roadwork every day said it is bad business.

"This is a mess. The state needs to do better than this," Guillot said.

Mallet said there are two days of patching left, then the road will be milled and overlaid to for a smoother ride. He expects the highway to be finished by spring.

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