VERMILION PARISH, La. (KLFY)The Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has a preventive maintenance project that costs $1,980,991 to put asphalt overlay on LA 35. 

One resident, Ron Guidry, told KLFY News 10 that it is scary to be having construction on LA 35 as it is a safety issue. He asked questions such as why are they doing it doing hurricane season and why are they doing it at all when the road was good? 

“At this point in time, the main concern I have is that they’re doing construction during the peak of hurricane season, and this is a major evacuation route,” Guidry said. 

DOTD Public Information Officer Deidra Druilhet told News 10, “We have a newer road, and so after a while, after several years, or so we want to take the time to go ahead, and what we’re doing, we’re doing a very thin layer of asphalt out there.” 

She also said that when funding becomes available, they want to be able to use it and do the prevented maintenance on the roads while that funding is available. 

“It basically helps to extend the life of the roadway, and of course, it’s enhancing safety for the motorist that travels along that particular route,” said Druilhet. 

Guidry said he does not understand why LA 35 is being resurfaced when LA 335 has needed to be resurfaced for about ten years. He believes the money would be useful elsewhere. 

“It’s got patches on patches. There are holes everywhere and loose gravel. It’s just in bad shape, and it’s a heavily traveled road,” he said. “It’s going to be almost a $2 million project to resurface these eight miles, and what I heard is that they’re going to do an inch of the overlay on this road, and I’m wondering what’s the benefit of doing an inch.” 

He also said that if the department asked and surveyed the community about what infrastructure projects they would like to see done he doubts, “one person would mention resurfacing 35. I bet 95% would say that 335 needs to be resurfaced.” 

Druilhet told News 10, “We know that for the residents that live in that area, it is considered an evacuation route, but we do have other evacuation routes along that particular area.” 

Guidry said, “The other routes are 82, which is in bad shape, probably in the same shape as 335, and we got this 35. I mean, that’s it. Those are the two main exit routes, and they bring you east and west, which is where we need to go to get out of here.”

Druilhet said, however, that if there is a threat of a possible hurricane that could impact the Vermilion Parish areas, they will monitor it very closely as they are working with the local governments ahead of time. 

“We try and reach out to the general public to let them know, and we also communicate with the contractor so we can let them know too; of course, move any equipment out the way and make sure that all lanes are open to traffic,” she said. 

If you have any concerns about the project, call the local district office at 1-877-452-3683.

You can view Louisiana’s emergency evacuation map here.