Residents calls re-paving of River Ridge street 'government waste'

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 15 at 6:19 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl
 

RIVER RIDGE, La. -- There are many streets in the metro area that have been in terrible condition for nine years now, since Hurricane Katrina. Some are so bad they are difficult to drive on.
 
So that's why some River Ridge homeowners turned to Eyewitness News when it didn't make sense that their street was getting FEMA flood money.
 
In River Ridge, on a cul-de-sac with just several homes and little traffic, Ed Ulicsni wondered why he got a hand delivered letter from Jefferson Parish that his street would be repaved as part of the Katrina Flooded Roads Program.
 
When asked if there was any water from the 2005 storm he said, "Nothing. I had some wind damage to the house. There was no flooding here at all." 
 
Neighbors are baffled too, calling it "government waste" to repave a street that doesn't have one pot hole, not even a slight crack.
 
"There's no reason for this street to have to be redone, especially since all of the other streets in Jefferson Parish that are in horrible condition are still sitting there," said Ulicsni.
 
Eyewitness News spoke to FEMA who said they just write the checks. The request for the work comes from the parishes to the governor's office. The governor's office then puts in the request for the money from FEMA.
 
After resident complaints, and inquiries by Eyewitness News, Jefferson Parish officials would not do an interview, but sent a statement from the director of the Streets Department. It stated that the area was selected by flood maps, developed by pavement management engineers.
 
River Ridge Drive was originally considered for replacement, but after evaluation, was removed from the list. The engineering firm did not notice the notation that no work would be done on that street,  so inspectors mistakenly delivered the letter.
 
Ulicsni suggests a whole new system of parishes sharing since there are streets in New Orleans in terrible condition.  
 
"Maybe there is some kind of an agreement that Orleans and Jefferson can come to. Jefferson saying we have $10 million extra for streets that we can't use, let's make an application to FEMA and see if we can give that to you to fix your streets. That's how businesses work. That's how neighbors work together," said Ulicsni.

The director of streets called the homeowner this afternoon to explain the mistake. The parish says all of the residents on River Ridge Drive will be notified. 

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