How does the DOTD pick its projects?

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – DOTD contractors keep busy working on projects all over the state. 

In 2018, the DOTD spent $629.48 million working on road, bridge, and airport projects statewide. 

In District 3, which includes: Lafayette, St. Landry, Iberia, Vermilion, St. Martin, Acadia, Evangeline, and St. Mary Parishes, the DOTD spent $56.24 million on construction projects. 

Many residents welcome road improvements, but sometimes they question why certain projects were selected. 

One recent example… the overlay project on LA 82 in Vermilion Parish. 

Vermilion Parish Police Juror Wayne Touchet said the road was already in good shape. 

“Some people are happy about it but most people want to see asphalt laid on a road that needs to be overlayed,” Touchet said. 

So how does the DOTD pick its projects? 

DOTD District 3 Administrator Bill Oliver said the projects are usually planned at least three years out. 

He said his staff comes up with a list of possible projects every year… based on road test video and data, driver and legislator feedback, and their own knowledge. 

A committee in Baton Rouge will also go over the list.      

“Sometimes they’ll call and say hey we have extra money this year. What do you have that you can get out in the next six months? I’ll say we have this project almost ready we can bump it up and get this one done,” Oliver explained. 

There are different types of projects and specific funding sources for each. 

For example, the non-federal aid program is paid for with state vehicle registration fees. 

“That’s our low volume, very rural roads. And those are the ones a lot of people say why aren’t you doing this other road which has more traffic on it?” Oliver said. 

The more heavily traveled roads rely on federal money. 

Oliver said selecting projects can be a balancing act. 

“Truck traffic. Freight traffic. Commercial traffic. All those things go into those decisions. Plus the type of funding that’s available, you know how much money is available?” Oliver said. 

Projects can also be added during the year for emergency repairs or if state gets extra money from the federal government.   

The DOTD said money can be shifted from one fiscal year to another, or across districts, to make projects fit into the budget. 

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