OUR OPINION:Fixing roads will save lives

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It’s a tragedy when it takes the death of anyone to bring things front and center.

The unfortunate death of 17-year-old Ashton Ford of Gonzales in a June vehicle crash on Roddy Road has made many take a sobering look at the conditions of parish-maintained roads.

Ford was killed when her car ran off the narrow road and into a steep ditch. When she overcorrected, the car slammed into a ditch on the opposite side of the road, struck a culvert and flipped numerous times.

According to information from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, there have been more than 260 wrecks on Roddy Road and its intersecting roads in the past five years. The section of Roddy Road where Ford’s crash took place is a 20-foot wide span that runs between Roddy Road’s intersections with Weber City Road and U.S. 61.

Maybe Parish President Tommy Martinez and Public Works Director Bob Turner put it best Tuesday night, when both said that almost all parish-maintained roads are in substandard shape and need to be improved. However, Martinez has also said that the funds are simply not there to conduct such large-scale work.

Martinez said that this case is just one of the many reasons why a proposed half-cent sales tax dedicated to road improvement is needed in the parish. According to numbers from the recent poll he commissioned, he does not seem to be the only one with that mindset. The poll showed that 66 percent of those asked placed roads as their top concern in the parish.

Ford is not the first to die on a parish road and, unfortunately, will not be the last. Something must be done to fix parish roads and avoid as many additional tragedies such as Ford’s death or any of those who came before her. One life lost on a highway is one too many.