Dial Dalfred: Lake Martin highway troubles

Dial Dalfred

Prairie Highway, also known as the Lake Martin Highway, Louisiana Highway 353 has certainly seen better days.

A lifelong resident of Cypress Island, Darnell Champagne drives along Highway 353 every single day.

“I’ve had to replace broken rims, I’ve had to replace a few shocks, flat tires and it’s all from Lake Martin [highway] and all of the potholes,” said Champagne. “They’ve even tried to patch it but that’s not even working because it’s still deterring the fact that the road needs to be repaired

“Unfortunately, the condition of that road is very bad,” said St. Martin Parish President Chester Cedars.

That seems to be thoughts of just about anyone who drives on the old highway. Our elected officials are not exempt, and Cedars says 353 is one of many state roads in the parish in dire need of repair.

“Louisiana Highway 352 – the levee road near the Henderson area where one lane has been shut down for over two years. Louisiana Highway 328, Louisiana Highway 31, Louisiana 347 – Cecilia High School Road. I can go on and on and on and designate state roads that need attention,” said Cedars

Because these are state roads, the parish can’t spend taxpayer dollars to fix them. Even if they could, in 2020, St. Martin officials only have $1.5 million in the budget to repair roads … for nearly 400 miles of road in the parish.

“However, there are some MPO monies available through a Payment Preservation Program to the tune of about a $3 million for work on that road through the MPO,” said Cedars.

Unfortunately, you won’t see construction taking place until 2022 at the earliest.

But when it does start, only one section of highway 353 will be getting repaired; the about two-mile stretch from Rookery Road, to the parish line. Any construction beyond that has yet to be determined.

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