Possible shoulder fix for Roddy Road offered

Aaron Looney

The Ascension Parish Council learned Tuesday that there may be a way to place shoulders along Roddy Road in an effort to give more room to drivers on the dangerous parish roadway.

Parish President Tommy Martinez told the council during its meeting in the council chambers that the state Department of Transportation and Development may have a different approach to installing shoulders to the narrow stretch of road south of Gonzales.

The method includes using a grid placed over the existing ditches and then using old rubber tires as a base pad, with dirt and grass then placed over the tires.

Martinez said that the method has been implemented in other areas, but that Roddy Road could be used as a test site in Ascension Parish for the practice.

Roddy Road has been the scene of numerous vehicle accidents in the past. One of the most recent crashes claimed the life of 17-year-old Ashton Ford of Gonzales in June. Family and friends of Ford have petitioned the council to make improvements on the road.

Martinez said that the parish could use some of its older vehicle tires that have been stored at the Public Works Department office as part of the project.

In other news, the council also voted to introduce a pair of ordinances that would create committees to select engineers and consultants.

The groups would be used to select firms on projects costing $50,000 or more, Chief Administrative Officer Cedric Grant told the council.

The engineer board would include Ascension Parish residents who attend the engineering schools at both LSU and Southern University, one member each from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Louisiana Engineering Society, the DOTD District 61 engineer, the parish’s chief engineer and a parish project engineer.

The parish is currently using a task order system to divvy its engineering projects.

The consultant selection board would consist of the parish’s chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, legal counsel and an outside expert, Grant said.

The boards would use a 100-point scoring system to select the firm best suited for the job, Grant said. That recommendation would then go to respective committees for further review and then the full council for the final decision.

The council will vote on the ordinances at its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 4 in Donaldsonville.

Grant also gave the council a proposed timeline to install a parishwide recycling program, aiming for a January 2010 start to the operation.