WALKER – A three-part project to improve Pendarvis Lane has been awarded a grant through the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC), according to Walker city officials.

But last week’s rain and flooding may change part of the project, according to Mayor Jimmy Watson.

“We may not be able to close the ditches if people flooded,” Watson told the City Council at its Monday meeting.

“This was a dash flood situation, a rarity having 6 to 8 inches fall in an hour, but those moments do occur,” he said.

The Pendarvis project includes base rehabilitation of the roadway and overlay and drainage improvements. In some places, the plan is to install drainage pipes and cover the open ditch alongside the lane. A sidewalk also would be installed on one side of the lane.

The mayor said efforts to improve Pendarvis date back to Mayor Rick Ramsey’s administration.

The city and its engineer would review the project to see if any changes would be needed based on the rain event, Watson said.

Walker only recently learned of the grant award, and the process to start the project is in its earliest stages, said Jamie Etheridge, city chief of operations.  

A Pendarvis Lane resident addressed the council about last week’s rain and offered her assessment about the project.

“I do not want a sidewalk in front of my house,” said Sherry Marino, who said her Pendarvis Lane home faces Three Lakes Subdivision.

A half-inch of rain got into her home, Marino said, and rainwater from Three Lakes came back onto her property.

“The heck with the sidewalk; please fix the drainage,” Marino said.

The engineering firm Forte & Tablada, of Denham Springs, is in the first stages of the project, marking areas with flags and paint down Pendarvis Lane, according to city officials.

The project is divided into three phases, Etheridge told the City Council:

• Phase I will be from the intersection of Walker South Road and Pendarvis Lane to the first entrance of Three Lakes Subdivision.

• Phase II will be from Three Lakes to the Pendarvis Lane-Pleasant Ridge Drive intersection.

• Phase III will be from Pleasant Ridge Drive to the red light at Pendarvis Lane and Florida Boulevard (U.S. 190).

Phase I is scheduled to start in 2019-2020, Phase II is set for 2020-2021, and Phase III will start in 2021-2022, according to the city. A completion date has not been drawn up yet.

The City Council submitted a grant request to the CRPC in April through the Urban Connector Program.

If a local road connects two state highways and is used heavily by traffic going between them, the road is eligible for grants to address the wear-and-tear or improve it.

The grant comes from the federal Highway Trust Fund under the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The state Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) serves as the liaison agency between the federal and state governments.

The CRPC serves as the metropolitan planning organization that distributes grants in the greater Baton Rouge region.

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