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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Road closure leaves some residents unhappy

Road closure leaves some residents unhappy

The closure of a section of Highway 24, in advance of a South Lafourche Levee District (SLLD) project in Larose, has some residents upset with the way it is affecting their lives and livelihoods.

The project to fill the gap in the levee system across Hwy. 24, under and alongside the West Larose Vertical Lift Span Bridge, brought some residents to the March 7 SLLD public meeting.

The project has interrupted their ability to get in and out of their area and has also affected some businesses there, they say.

SLLD is set to build a permanent cement floodwall across the Hwy. 24 to complete the levee which crosses under the West Larose Bridge overpass and continues toward Bayou Lafourche along the Dresser Canal.

Vehicular traffic from this small part of the Larose community between the Dresser Canal and the Intracoastal Waterway must route to Hwy. 24 and Hwy. 3235 and the Larose Connection to access other parts of the parish.

Residents who live below the Dresser Canal must use Hwy. 1 to access the Larose Connection to go north, or west toward Houma.

Residents have been told that the Parish plans to eventually build a connecting road over the levee and the Dresser Canal between West 3rd and Hwy. 1 so that residents won’t have to use the circular route.

On Monday, Roland Ledet, who lives between the Dresser Canal and Hwy. 1, told SLLD that he is fearful Hwy. 24 will be dug up, that he does not have access to property adjacent to his home, and that a promised public meeting to discuss the project before closing that part of the road was never held by the Levee District.

“I have a house facing Hwy. 24 and Hwy. 1. I have no physical address now. And I have property along the levee board’s road. I can’t get to it,” he said.

Melissa Leblanc, co-owner of Leblanc’s Service Station expressed concerns about lost business.

“We’ve got businesses hurting now because they are cut off. We’ve got sick people there, too. I’ve had five customers in the last two weeks,” she said.

Ledet also said that because of the closure, ambulance service has changed from nearby Larose to Raceland.

“And they don’t know that Hwy. 24 is closed,” he said.

Levee District General Manager Windell Curole explained the final decision to start the project came from the parish.

“After three years, this is what they (Lafourche Government) said. ‘Go ahead with the levee, we will take care of the road’”, said Curole.

But residents say the connecting road planned by the parish, which will be their access in and out of the area, should have been built before the levee project was initiated.

Curole said Monday that traffic concerns should be directed to the Parish.

Leblanc responded that she and others tried but were told by Parish Administration to contact Curole.

At Tuesday’s Parish Council public meeting, Councilman Jerry Lafont assured residents that Hwy. 24 will remain in place, and that Ledet will have access to property along the levee.

“Rest assured. That road’s not going anywhere. I’ll be there tomorrow. We will talk more about it then,” said Lafont.

The floodwall project will take about three months to complete.