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Soil conditions and drainage issues cause for delays in Sullivan Road improvement project

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CENTRAL- Sewage pipes lay alongside Sullivan Road in Central, dirt remains piled up. This is not what the street is supposed to look like.

"People ask me about this road every day. It is the talk of the city, they just see five years' worth of work, and there's hardly anything to show for, no actual road work has been done," Central Mayor David Barrow said.

Plans call for widening a part of the road and adding a roundabout. Crews worked on it since before 2017. It began under the City-Parish, then the DOTD took over. Then crews found bad soil conditions and drainage issues. Crews went home in November, bringing the work to a screeching halt. That's according to a new state audit. Work will start again on the project sometime after November 2022.

"Progress has been made. It's been slowed down with the sewage system plans, that will be rectified in November when it goes back to bid," DOTD Communications Director Rodney Mallet said.

The audit also found that utility companies did not relocate water, gas, and electric lines on time, meaning other contractors couldn't do their jobs. DOTD removed the roundabout from the plans to help speed up the construction process, saying more lines would need to be moved. Mallet says redoing the plans at this point is the only way to make good of a bad situation.

"If we went forward with the roundabout, the project would be delayed for up to four more years," Mallet said.

The mayor wished the plans would not change. Barrow tells WBRZ they are revitalizing the city, the intersection heavily traveled.

"We want a nice intersection that can be a focal point of the community, not a congested one," Barrow said.

Plans are now to add a second left-turn lane at the intersection with traffic lights and to come back and revisit the roundabout at a later date.

"They want to go back to a traditional signalized intersection, which their own studies show will be a deficient intersection," Barrow said.

"With through lanes, an additional turn lane will be infinitely better than what is there right now," Mallet said.

DOTD will be at the next Central City Council meeting on the 22nd to explain the plans in detail.

READ the full audit here.

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