According to the DOTD, the road work on La. 468 is ahead of schedule.
Road work is ahead of schedule on La. highway 468, according to Robbie Mays, area engineer with the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD).
Concerns over the status of the highway's construction work were highlighted last week when Vernon Parish Police Juror Joseph "Bo" Cryer and his fellow jurors announced their dissatisfaction with the amount of time it has taken to complete the road repairs, but the DOTD remains firm in that the job will be completed sooner than expected.
"Everyone is in agreement that some inconvenience would occur during the life span of this project," Mays wrote in an email. "However, some changes were made in order to speed up the schedule in the beginning, and construction is ahead of the initial schedule by three months."
State Representative James Armes also has been contacted with concerns over the construction work, and he explained that the project is expected to be completed by October 1 of this year, as long as weather permits.
"There was a short period of time where construction hit a standstill because of an accidental uncovering of some phone and cable lines," Armes said.
Armes explained that during some excavation work, the laborers exposed an AT&T telephone line and cable lines that had not been buried at the appropriate depth.
"They then had to excavate the lines and rebury them carefully so that they did not do any further damage to the lines, which took some time," Armes said.
Recent rains also put a hindrance on the construction work, but barring any further inclement weather the construction should now continue until completed.
The road was closed 17 months ago on February 26, 2008 with the goal of repairing three bridges near the Leesville city limits and then a fourth bridge located four miles east of Leesville.
Since the beginning of construction, residents have complained about the inconvenience of having to use La. 28 to reach Leesville and the added amount of driving time the detour creates. Many wondered why there was no detour bridge put in to ease that inconvenience.
"It would have been impossible to build (a detour) there," Mays said in a previous interview on the subject.
The DOTD is not remaining oblivious to the concerns of the public, however. Lacking only asphalt and soil erosion, work is expected to be completed in another month at the first three bridges, and then the highway will be opened up except at the site of the fourth bridge where another six months is being expected for the completion of that work.
If it runs as expected, the work will take approximately 24 months. This will be much sooner than expected given that the initial date of completion was for January 2011.