SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - It's a road improvement project that cost Calcasieu Parish taxpayers $137,000. Considering many projects are much more expensive than that, it might not seem like such a big deal at first, but the road getting the improvement is home to only one residence.
In addition, Stegal Road, located off Highway 90 west of Sulphur, is one of the least traveled roads in the parish. The "dead end" road is only about a half-mile long.
Parish officials say spending the money was necessary because Stegal Road needed to be repaved.
"The road is a public road and it had deteriorated to a point where it did need an overlay," said Calcasieu Parish Engineer Tim Conner.
Conner said engineering officials consider several factors in determining which roads to repair and when.
Location, the number of vehicles that travel the road and the number of businesses and residence located along it are all taken into consideration. But one factor trumps all: the actual condition of the road, as determined by its asphalt condition score.
According to Conner, Stegal Road's asphalt condition score indicated that the repairs needed to be made sooner rather than later.
Conner said had the parish waited to make the repairs, the roadway would have likely deteriorated to the point where the entire road would need to be reconstructed.
"Then you're looking at doubling your cost of maintenance," said Conner. "It's a matter of trying to put the right application at the right time to make sure the road's properly maintained."
The engineer staff shared their findings with the police jury, who approved and included the Stegal Road improvement project in the parish's overall budget.
"Whether it's one house on the road or 20 houses on the road, we still have an obligation because it's a public road," said Conner. "[We have] to maintain that to an acceptable level and provide the best quality service to the citizens of the parish."
In addition to the one home on Stegal Road, there are tracts of property along the roadway, which are maintained by other landowners.