Cointment and EA Drainage close strong in 2022

East Ascension Drainage Board’s final meeting of 2022 was momentous, its enormity belied by the lack of fanfare and subdued mood of its membership.  In dollars the various projects included a total in the $100 million range, give or take, with three of them on EA Drainage’s drawing board for decades nearing fruition.  Of more recent vintage are projects recently-approved (and funded) with new ones presented for the first time via EAD’s Floodplain Management Program.

For those east bank residents living closest to Ascension’s border along the Amite/Diversion Canal…

Four decades in the making, Laurel Ridge Levee extension construction bids due

four decades in the making, bids to construct  Laurel Ridge Levee extension are due today.

Those living in Ascension’s northwest corner have long been left to the mercy of Alligator/Fish/Fog bayous, Bluff Swamp, Spanish Lake and Bayou Manchac drainage deficiencies and flooding propensities.  Inextricable entanglements involving a three-parish (Ascension, Iberville and East Baton Rouge) geographical nexus long politicizing potential projects promising hope for one parish, concern for the others; on Monday the Board approved the substantial completion of Fish Bayou Control Structure…

recognized by Civil+Structural Engineer Magazine as one of its 2022 Yearbook of Engineering Achievement (YEA) Projects.

Conceding there is much left to accomplish toward the basin’s drainage improvement, building the control structure is quite the accomplishment given its turbulent history.  For a synopsis…

New River pump station into the Mississippi explained by HNTB

The final piece of the ongoing New River Dredging Project, EAD accepted the lowest responsive bid for the New River Tilting Weir envisioned and pushed through by President Clint Cointment.  The apparatus will replace the rock weir located behind Gonzales’ Walmart, in place for decades.

New River weir

The overall project includes approximately three miles worth of dredging to end at the new tilting weir…

and control structures at Smith Bayou to the west (near its confluence with New River and linking to the Bayou Goudine system).

Whether or not potential floodwaters are ever pumped into the Mississippi River (see above), more and bigger projects are in the pipeline.  EAD approved $19 million on Monday, funding the first phase of Marvin Braud Pump Station Levee Evaluation and Upgrade.  

“We’re upgrading the levee system (protecting MBPS) to 100-year flood protection; and installing water control structures at various locations, pending modeling,” explained lead engineer Jared Monceaux of Hartman Engineering.

East Ascension Drainage is responsible for the expenditure, its matching funds in the 75/25 equation that will reap $57 million worth of funding in return.  Ultimately, $76 million worth of flood protection for areas served by MBPS and new pumps/levees in and around Sorrento will result.  Momentous.

And there is more to come.  Two projects recommended by the Floodplain Management program…

Cointment-negotiated Floodplain Management Plan contract saves taxpayers $775,250

and Ascension Drainage Assistance Program Team (ADAPT), were accepted by EA Drainage on Monday.

  • Bert Allen Ditch Detention ($6.6M)
  • Marty Buratt Lateral Detention Improvements ($1.8M)

Eligible for the 90/10 match funding from Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant, $840,000 will get EAD $8.4 million if all goes according to plan.

“There is funding available,” assured Public Works Director Ron Savoy.  We want to submit (these) two projects.”

The first of 30 identified and ranked (most likely to garner outside funding) by HNTB engineers which is heading up ADAPT and the Floodplain Management program.

Six members of EA Drainage having wasted an awful lot of time and effort attempting to oust President Cointment in 2021…

EA Drainage’s 2021 coup attempt is over (Cointment wins big)

less politics pervading the business of EA Drainage, and projects are getting done.