Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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Friday, the grass was freshly cut under the Westbank Expressway and litter was few and far between.

This week, Jefferson Parish took over maintenance of the grounds under the elevated spans from Terrytown to Highway 90.

'We're going to make sure it meets our specifications which is going to be looking better than it has previously been,' said Public Works Director Kazem Alikhani.

Council Chairman Chris Roberts helped broker a deal with the state to allow parish contractors to take over the job.

Grass cutting was expected to be reduced and litter pickup eliminated after the tolls rolled off the Crescent City Connection.

'We don't want to see the expressway turn into a derelict stretch that is welcoming criminal activity or not being maintained properly,' said Roberts. 'I think we do a good job in our medians throughout the parish and we want to see the expressway look the same.'

The parish is now increasing the grass cutting from 10 to 26 times per year.

Trash will be picked up 52 times a year and landscaping will be done on a regular basis.

'We are going to make sure the grass is cut, the grass is going to look good, it's going to be edged, the trees are going to be trimmed, trash is going to be picked up and also the weeds are going to be eliminated,' said Alikhani.

Money to reimburse the parish now comes from left over toll money from the Crescent City Connection. But, funding for enhanced litter pickup and grass cutting runs out in two years.

'We don't want to lead anyone to believe that this is what's going to be able to be maintained indefinitely unless another funding source is determined and I think that's something that the legislature is working to try and do now,' said Roberts.

While the parish will maintain the lower expressway, it is still the state's responsibility to light and maintain the elevated spans.

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