Residents share thoughts on progress of Ford Stewart road repairs

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Leesville, La. (KALB) The Vernon Parish Police Jury is in the first phase of a 3-year phase to repair Ford Stewart Road. But some residents, like Robin Stewart, have voiced their frustration with road conditions over the years and feel any sort of progress is long overdue.

Foundation work on Ford Stewart is in the first phase of repairs as part of the Vernon Parish Police Jury's 3-year plan.

Robin Stewart has lived on Ford Stewart road, named after her grandfather since she was a toddler "when it was just a gravel road."

"Some areas are so narrow you either hit the oncoming vehicle or the pothole," Stewart said. "I've hit a pothole going 5 mph and got a flat in the front and back tire. In the last year, I've had thirty. My car is sitting at the tire shop right now." Stewart said damage to her vehicle over the years "is in the thousands" adding that claims she submitted to the police jury were denied.

Although Stewart calls the area home and doesn't plan to move, she said many of her neighbors are military and road conditions affect their property value.

"They can't even rent their homes. I've seen some sit there for more than a year because of the road."

Just up the road from Stewart, the Anderson's also love the area and are staying put. But Sue and her husband David, an army veteran who suffers from silicosis lung disease said sometimes it's hard to enjoy their dream retirement home. Although the couple appreciates the road work, all the dust irritates David. "I've only got about a third of my lung capacity and the more gravel and, I call it red clay, that they put down, the dustier it is," said David. "It's just an everyday thing, I get up and if there's no traffic we can go out on the back porch and I can have my coffee. As soon as traffic picks up, I'm in the house, doors closed and i stay here unless we need to go somewhere."

District 12 police juror Kenny Haymon declined an on-camera interview Thursday but did tell KALB that they're making progress in foundational work and thanks everyone for their patience.

Carl Thompson, road manager for VPPJ Public Works Department gave KALB the following statement:

"We are coming along with Ford Stewart quiet well. It's going to be a little slower in front of the homes working around the driveways and mailboxes. In one stretch about 900 feet long we will be removing about 1,000 - 1,200 yards of bad material and backfilling with good select material. Weather permitting, we have several more weeks of work ahead."

Haymon added asphalt is the next step after phase 1 is completed.

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