METAIRIE,La. -- It's the tale of two parishes. In Orleans, people say, 'Fix my streets,' while in Jefferson they say, 'Why are you fixing my street?'
After our first story ran on the FEMA flood repaving program, Eyewitness News heard from several viewers who said their streets did not need repaving.
Now the parish answers your questions, saying the program will save local tax dollars down the road.
In River Ridge on a dead-end street, a resident wants to know why his street is being repaved with FEMA flood money when he says it didn't flood.
'I don't see why they're wasting money doing the street because there's nothing really wrong with it except that one pothole that's been here since before Katrina,' said Gasper Blaise.
On another River Ridge dead end that people say never flooded, neighbors got the same parish letter stating that resurfacing would begin soon.
'It's in good shape. I don't know why they want to redo it,' said Tom Dimm.
E-mail messages also came from Eyewitness News viewers in other areas of Jefferson Parish, wanting to know why streets that look good were being done while others in worse shape were not.
Two residents who live in Old Metairie say they can't understand why some streets are being redone because they didn't appear to have any problems. One said his area floods when it rains and there doesn't appear to be any work going on subsurface, such as fixing the drainage pipes.
Top Jefferson Parish officials from engineering, public works and streets explained that the parish must go by the federal government satellite maps taken around the time of Hurricane Katrina. Only streets that showed water are eligible for $100 million in federal repaving money.
Experts, contracted by the parish, go look at each street eligible on the maps.
'We went out and looked at the streets. They are showing signs of oxidation. They don't have the potholes and the really horrible cracks, but they have been worn. So we have a chance with this money to resurface that street, gain 10 years of service life that we're going to lose if we don't do it now, because it may be in three years where that oxidized surface now starts to unravel,' said Mark Drewes, director of the Jefferson Parish Department of Engineering.
'It's going to free up some money in the future that we can put into the programs in the streets that are not included in this program,' said Kazem Alikhani, director of the Department of Public Works.
Alikhanisaid if this federal money is not used, the parish will have to come up with the money in a few years when the streets start showing more signs of aging.
They said there is a specific plan where streets have to be at least 50 percent damaged. Those asphalt streets get completely resurfaced and concrete ones get the damaged block panels replaced. Some asphalt will be replaced two inches down and others five inches down, depending on how much wear is determined by engineers.
The FEMA money cannot be used for drainage, so Jefferson Parish is putting up a couple of million dollars to fix drainage problems they find while resurfacing streets.