ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — The COVID-19 pandemic delayed a crucial project in St. Landry parish. A phase of the “Smooth Ride Home” project started in November 2021, and residents and government officials are only now seeing it complete. Despite the delay, St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard says the project is on schedule.

In 2013, St. Landry Parish voters approved a two-cent sales tax to improve roads. In 2014, the St. Landry Parish Government launched program, breaking up road improvement plans into phases.

The sales tax currently generates roughly $600,000 a month in taxes.

In 2021, the two-cent sales tax brought in $7.5 million.

Parish President Jessie Bellard explained that $100 million will take care of every road in the parish that isn’t black-topped.

It’s a project that was launched in November 2021 and finally wrapped up for District Nine.

The combination of both the parish sales tax and the District Nine Road and Drainage Tax fully funded the project, totaling nearly $160,000.  

“It saved the roads for ten years,” Bellard said.

As a part of the phases of the program, nine roads in the parish are being protectively sealed. The Parish government resurfaced over 50,000 feet on those nine roads.

Bellard said a cost-effective approach was taken to complete this phase of the program.

“What we are doing lately is coming on top of an existing road with a good base,” Bellard explained. “It maintains the base and the road in good condition and it cost us a third of the money.”

The district road and drainage tax is not just limited to road work and resurfacing, it’s also being used to dig ditches in the parish, which Bellard said is desperately needed.

 Despite the pandemic delay, Bellard said the “Smooth Ride Home Program” is on schedule.