How to fix parish roads and make the repairs last took up the bulk of the meeting of the Red River Parish Police Jury Monday night. The discussion during committee meetings began with comments about the condition of Springhill Church Road. The conclusion is that the extraordinary wear on some roads is caused by heavy truck traffic associated with oil and gas exploration.
How to pay for road repairs was also the topic of conversation. Many jurors expressed frustration that repairs that have been made in recent years do not hold up. Again the cause came back to unusually heavy traffic.
Jury President Shawn Beard suggested, “getting someone in here to show us what to do.” Juror Jessie Davis said, “we already have a number of engineering studies, but they are for normal traffic.” Davis presented cost figures submitted to the jury that indicates a cost in the range of $200,000.00 per mile. But Davis said, “This is
for normal vehicular traffic. It would be much more expensive to repair the roads to handle heavy oil and gas traffic.”
Currently underway is work to have weight limits set for all parish roads. That was approved at the April jury meeting.
Discussion turned to who should pay for repairs. Beard wants to call the oil and gas firms and other truckers operating in the parish to a meeting to work out a solution. Juror Ben Taylor said “the oil companies are making money off using the roads. They are tearing them up. They should pay the cost of repairing the roads.”
At present the truckers are required to get a permit and are restricted to a certain route within that permit. However the cost of the permit does not cover the cost of repairing the roads. At Mondays meeting the jurors attitude was both to find a repair method that would hold up to heavy traffic, and to get those who cause the damage to parish roads to bear a greater share of the cost of repairs.