The police jury's in-roads to take advantage of a transportation program means taking the long road.
The Morehouse Parish Police Jury remains in pursuit to engage in a cooperative “road swap” with the Louisiana Department of Transportation may not pay dividends until another two years, though it's possible it could develop sooner.
Last month the Jury spent just under $150,000 to have its road maintenance department re-pave about 4 miles of Naff Road.
The new blacktop, badly needed on a heavily travelled road in Bastrop, was effectively “a good gesture on our part to make it easier” for the state to agree to the program, explained MPJ president Terry Matthews Thursday.
The exchange, offered by DOTD, concerns empowering local communities help with infrastructure projects while decreasing state land miles.
Naff’s difficult intersection with Collinston and Airport roads has been a matter of concern as the city has looked at purchasing approximately 85 acres adjacent to the current Coulter Industrial Park to build a new industrial park through a federal grant.
MPJ would prefer that the state assume ownership of Naff – and any of its future improvements – while MPJ would likewise assume ownership of 12.5 miles of highways managed by the state in the rural areas would fall into its plans to create boat launch points into Bayou Bartholomew.
Louisiana DOTD District 5 Administrator Marshall Hill told the jury in the spring that any transferring of roads would take into account the projected cost of $443,000 to maintain Naff over a 40-year cycle.
Having the state make needed improvements on Naff also plays a strategic part in the City of Bastrop's aspirations to purchase 85 acres next to Coulter Industrial Park for expansion.
Matthews said that an update of Naff's repaving will soon be submitted to DOTD, and then it's time to wait and see.
“This type of cooperation just takes a long time before anything is finalized,” he said.