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|Parish looks to stimulus package to tackle five bridge projects|
Funding from the economic stimulus package President Obama recently signed into law may be available for Ouachita Parish to tackle several bridge projects.
According to parish engineer Don Harrison, the parish has compiled a list of $5 million in bridge projects that could be addressed with federal funding provided through the stimulus package.
The $5 million in bridge projects are included in the parish's overall wish list of projects it wants to see funded through the economic stimulus package. The parish's wish list totals $101.2 million.
Funding from the economic stimulus bill for infrastructure projects will be directed to the state Department of Transportation and Development. DOTD will distribute the funds to each of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations throughout the state. The local MPO is Ouachita Council of Governments.
The bridge projects included in the parish's wish list are Kiroli Road Bridge, Orange Street Bridge, Richardson Road Bridges Nos. 1 and 2, Rifle Range Road, Dean Chapel Road Bridges and Red Cut Loop Road Bridges Nos. 1 and 2.
It is not known at this time which of the bridge projects will be tapped to receive federal funding, Harrison said.
Of the $308 million from the stimulus package that will be distributed to DOTD for infrastructure improvements, roughly $10 million of that will be used for off- system bridge improvements, Harrison said.
"We understand that DOTD has prepared that listing for the recommended $10 million expenditures, but we have not seen a copy of that," Harrison said. "We do understand that it has bridges in Ouachita Parish on it."
Another aspect of the stimulus bill provides funds for wastewater improvement projects. DOTD is compiling a list of projects to spend the state's share of those funds, which amounts to about $43 million.
The parish already has an agreement with Greater Ouachita Water Company in eastern Ouachita to expand several sewer facilities.
"We have several sewerage districts on the westside that are pursuing similar expansions," Harrison said.
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is considering projects of this nature to be funded through the stimulus package.
The police jury last week agreed to submit to DEQ the project involving sewerage improvements along the La. 139 corridor in Swartz. The project would cost roughly $2.4 million.
"This is one that's ready to go and we feel like we are in the position to satisfy the deadline," Harrison said.
Applications are being accepted by DEQ through March 13.