The New Iberia City Council unanimously approved authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Berard, Habetz & Associates to begin working on a design for public roads project.
Matt Landry with Berard, Habetz & Associates told the council that the proposed study is based off of an $8 million project that would find some of the worst roads in New Iberia and begin identifying how those roads should be prepared.
The proposal comes after more than a year of Mayor Freddie DeCourt and the New Iberia City Council discussing a new road program to begin repairing some of the worst roads in the city.
The project has been delayed as the city waits for eligibility to float a bond for the project.
Landry said the proposed work will come at a discount to the city due to positive experiences contracting with the city of New Iberia in the past for similar work.
“We’ll ride all the districts of the city and determine what needs an overlay and what needs reconstruction,” Landry said. “We’re going to take road count and other factors into consideration.”
Councilman Marlon Lewis asked if members of the city council would have any input as to what roads will ultimately be chosen for repair as a result of the project.
Mayor Pro Tem Ricky Gonsoulin responded that while input would be important, one of the important factors of the project would be not to make it a political issue.
“I think you’re going to get a priority list on the most unsafe roads,” Gonsoulin said. “If you start to say you want to give councilmen power on which roads, it becomes a political issue and the mayor agreed that this wouldn’t be a political issue.
Lewis agreed, and said prioritizing unsafe roads was important.
“The public needs to know we’re prioritizing based on safety,” he said. “We know that, but the public needs to know that.”
Landry added that roads requiring reconstruction will be placed on higher priority than roads that require a simple overlay.