West Bank multi-use path finally a reality

August 24, 2009 at 9:19 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish Council authorized the state to execute a construction contract for the main section of the West Bank multi-use path - a 6.2-mile-long project that will create a paved path for walkers, joggers and bike riders to enjoy the Mississippi River.

Boh Brothers bid a little over $1.3 million for the project. Construction of the path, which will travel from Elm Street in Hahnville to Davis Drive in Luling, is expected to last no longer than 45 days.

The design for the path has been completed since 2004 and funding was approved in 2002. However, the parish had to wait for the state Department of Transportation and Development to go out for bids on the project.

The parish will use its own funds to construct the project and then get reimbursed with a grant from the state. The state, in turn, has included the project in the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan.

“I ask that you pass this so I can see another thing happen that I never thought I’d live to see,” School Board member Ellis Alexander told the council before the vote.

Alexander said that he tried to get a West Bank multi-use path constructed when he was a councilman in 1997. At that time, Alexander said that it would have cost $2 million to construct a path spanning from Jefferson Parish to St. John Parish.

St. Charles Parish only had to come up with $200,000 for the project, according to Alexander.

“The Corps of Engineers was going to do the engineering for free, which would knock off $100,000, and the Lafourche Basin Levee Board was going to put up $100,000,” Alexander said. “When I left office in 1999, somehow everything fell apart.”

Alexander said he is “tickled to death” that the project is finally becoming a reality.

Several councilmen also said they were pleased to see the project come to fruition.

“This is something we have been waiting on for a long time,” Councilman Billy Raymond said. “I’ve had a number of people asking me about it over the years.”

Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said that the path would also include an area for residents to park their bikes and sit on benches to watch the Mississippi River. Councilman Paul Hogan said that he would eventually like the parish to have a scenic outlook for vehicles.

The parish currently has a paved bicycle and pedestrian path on the East Bank that starts in Jefferson Parish and ends in Ormond.

The plan is for both paths to eventually span the entire length of the parish on the levees.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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