Galliano pontoon bridge over 130 days behind schedule
Several important discussions took place at the latest Parish Council meeting in Mathews on Tuesday, July 26.
Daniel Lorraine’s bid to rename the government building in Mathews as the Lindel Toups Mathews Government Complex hit a wall when none of the council would “second” his motion. Councilmen Cory Perrillioux and James Bourgeois were absent.
District 7 Councilman Armand Autin said the council was never going to support the ordinance and suggested a more appropriate memorial would be to honor Toups with a plaque which could be placed at the entrance of the Complex or in the main lobby.
Lorraine was disappointed at the lack of support from his peers and vowed to continue to find the proper way of remembering Toups who, prior to his death, served as a parish councilman for over 20 years.
Later in the meeting, Legislative Internal Auditor Reggie Bagala noted in his report that Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle was involved in a vehicle accident with damage to a parish vehicle.
“On July 11th, I requested to review the most recent vehicular accidents in the parish’s risk management files. I found an accident on May 22nd involving the parish president’s vehicle off Highway 90,” stated Bagala.
He also said that an incident report with the sheriff’s office was not recorded until June 12th in which Cantrelle stated he repaired the vehicle “out of his own pocket and was unaware of the need to report the accident to the sheriff.”
According to parish guidelines, employees must immediately report all accidents to the parish and the sheriff’s office and submit to a drug and alcohol test, said Bagala.
In another matter, the council voted to move $233,000 of Community Development Block Grant money, which the parish has delayed numerous times, for repair of the Thibodaux Government Building to the proposed Lockport Community Center.
The Thibodaux building grant has been in place for years but unused because of changes in administration, and delays due to architect/design issues. The repairs cannot be finished by the end of 2017, therefore the grant would run out.
Parish Grant Writer Adam Lefort said, “The state has told us the money needs to be spent.”
It would be better to spend the money in Lockport on design, plans, specs, environmental review, and engineer services, said Lefort.
“This is a no-brainer. Spend it or lose it,” said Councilman Lorraine.
Vote was 6-1 with Jones voting nay.
Also, council voted 5-2 to fund removal of the Chevron Bridge in Leeville (Rappelet’s Bridge) out of the BP fund rather than Road Sales Tax District 2 fund. The BP Fund is a source of revenue for emergencies.
Although RSTD2 funds are typically used to pay for roads, drainage and bridges, Finance Director Carrol Hymel said administration is attempting to protect the RSTD2 fund as it may experience a shortfall by year’s end.
“Currently RSTD2 holds $2,600,000 of which we can use $1,800,000. Based on projections, if we keep $1.8k for bond indebtedness, we will still fall short in the fund nearly $350,000 by the end of the year,” said Hymel.
Finally, council was informed by Duplantis Design Group engineer Heather Klingman that the Galliano pontoon bridge is still closed to vehicular traffic some 134 days beyond the contract deadline.
That translates to about $67,000 in liquidated damages, money the contractor must forfeit back to the parish.
More delay occurred on Tuesday when the contractor, LeBro Construction, began striping of the lanes on the bridge but ran out of striping tape and told the parish it will not receive more tape until the end of the week.
“I blame the engineer and I blame the contractor. Don’t tell me ‘maybe next week’ again. How many ‘next weeks’ are we gonna have?” said Lorraine.
The Galliano bridge job began in October of 2016 and was supposed to take only 120 days to complete.
Posted on Fri, July 28, 2017
by By Buster Avera, Contributing Writer