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Mailboxes moved following sidewalk project, some say they're too close to street
BRUSLY - Some mailboxes are getting the attention of a driver in West Baton Rouge Parish after a sidewalk construction project. A woman says she hit one of them and it damaged her brand new car.
Sunday afternoon, Lynette Rivet had just wrapped up an errand and was on her way home. She was headed toward the river on East St. Francis Street in Brusly when she heard a loud bang and looked over to see her side mirror hanging off it's support.
"Oh my God, what did I hit? We were just driving, passing a vehicle on the road and bam!" Rivet said.
Her brand new car is now damaged after her side mirror hit a mailbox. Once Rivet had a chance to look around she noticed something she has never seen before. On East St. Francis Street, the mailboxes are posted between the sidewalk and the road parallel to the street on a tiny strip of land. In some areas, the strip of land is about 18 inches but in other areas it's much smaller.
"You look down the street and you see how close they are, how close they are to the road," Rivet said.
She says that while passing another car on the street it's no wonder she hit one of the mailboxes.
"They are entirely too close to the road."
The sidewalks are brand new. Brusly Mayor Scot Rhodes says the project was built with grant dollars to provide connectivity and how the mailboxes are now is not a permanent solution.
John Berthelot lives on East St. Francis Street and says it was him who initially brought up some concerns with the project. Berthelot says the mailboxes were first installed between the sidewalk and the houses. One day his mail wasn't delivered and he tracked down the mail carrier to find out why.
"She said your box isn't in the right place, I'm not going to walk across that sidewalk and I'm not going to drive across the sidewalk," Berthelot said.
That's when Berthelot says the postmaster got involved and says the contractor moved the mailboxes to where they are now. Berthelot says the mailboxes were in a better location before the sidewalk was installed. If they're placed on the inner side of the sidewalk he won't get mail. If they're placed on the outside of the sidewalk he says the boxes are too close to the road.
"I don't have any choice," he said.
Rivet says someone has some explaining to do.
"The construction guy told me to talk to the mayor, the mayor told me to talk to the post office," Rivet said.
Drivers seem to swerve out of the way to avoid the edge of the road, except when passing another car like Rivet was doing when she hit the mailbox.
"I don't think that I did anything wrong and that I'm responsible for fixing it," she said.
Rivet doesn't think she'll be the last person to hit one of those boxes.
West Baton Rouge Parish released a statement regarding the incident. The parish says, in part, that the Joliet Trail is a pedestrian pathway to allow people to travel between Alexander Park and the five-mile-long De Soto Levee Top trail in West Baton Rouge Parish and the Town of Brusly. These projects are designed and constructed under the oversight of licensed and certified engineering and construction contractors as well as with consultation of agents for the United States Postal Service.
The parish said it will not be issuing a statement related to determinations of liability for any recent incidents as our staff is not qualified to make such determinations.
Prior to this story airing, 2 On Your Side asked Mayor Rhodes, West Baton Rouge Parish, and the United States Postal Service for information about what the permanent solution is to the mailboxes. A response was not provided.
The Friday after the story aired, the USPS provided the following statement:
The Postal Service appreciates its customers and always strives to provide excellent service. One way we do this is ensuring the correct placement of mailboxes along delivery routes so they may be safely and conveniently served by our carriers without leaving their vehicles. In this specific case, the Postal Service is currently working with various stakeholders to ensure proper placement of mailboxes along East St. Francis Street in Brusly. The Postal Service appreciates its customers’ patience and understanding during this ongoing project.
In a previous 2 On Your Side story, a road project in Hammond using federal grant dollars followed federal guidelines and included the addition of "breakaway" mailboxes.
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