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Sunday, September 22, 2019

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Drainage project possible for Lafourche

Drainage project possible for Lafourche

A major drainage project is only steps away from getting the money needed to help with flooding problems for eastern Lafourche Parish south of the Intracoastal Waterway.

The East Side Drainage Improvements Project has been designed by T. Baker Smith and is waiting on approval of a $4.75 million grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Statewide Flood Control program to begin work.

The project will add more than nine miles of drainage dredging, add drainage canals, replace six cross-street pipes and five culverts and add a new pumping station with four pumps that can move 800,000 gallons per minute.

“The program is reactive, not proactive, so in other words you have to have existing flooding to get an award,” said Dustin Rabalais, a project manager with T. Baker Smith. “It’s an extremely ambitious project. It’s a large project. But what it essentially aims to do is reduce or eliminate flooding between East 39th and East 94th streets (in Cut Off). That is my target area.”

The project began two years ago at the direction of Albert Guidry, chairman of Lafourche Parish Drainage District No. 1, and will cost around $5.1 million. The state will pay $4.75 million, while the rest will be put up by the drainage district and the parish.

Phase one of the project will begin construction within the next two years and will see all of the dredging, canal building and culvert replacement projects done. Phase two will put in a pumping station with four 48-inch pump that will also act as a redundancy for the levee district in case of an emergency.

However, the project will not be upgrading or replacing culverts or dredging ditches in neighborhoods.

“We’re going to increase the ability to get the water out of these neighborhoods, but the neighborhoods are still going to have to get the water to us. I’m not going to be able to replace someone’s culvert under their driveway because it’s undersized, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m just creating the infrastructure to receive the water from these neighborhoods and get it out of there,” Rabalais said.

Rabalais said that a lot of the thanks for the project getting as far as it has goes not just to Guidry but also to Windell Curole from the South Lafourche Levee District, Lafourche Parish Councilmen Jerry Lafont and Daniel Lorraine and Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle.

“The East Side Drainage Improvements Project is undergoing final funding review under the Statewide Flood Control Program,” Cantrelle said. “I am extremely optimistic that the parish will receive the funding letters from the state in the very near future.”


-- Staff Writer Dan Boudreaux can be reached at 857-2204 or Follow him on Twitter @dan_boudreaux.