I am responding to the article titled “Another year passes without Major Drainage improvement” on 12/28/2020 (see link below) in this publication which implied that nothing has been accomplished in major drainage this year. This is misleading on several fronts.
This is misleading on several fronts.
First, I would like to delineate the difference between major drainage projects and maintenance on major drainage assets. The major drainage projects you have listed in the article such as Laurel Ridge Levee Extension, New River Dredging and Weir Removal (Enhancement) Project and Fish/Frog Bayou Flood Control Structure are projects that have been on the books for two or more previous administrations, councils and Drainage Boards (we were sworn in on January 6, 2020). These projects take multi-year budgeting, federal and state permits and land owner agreements. I am proud to say that we have made significant movement on each of these projects, some you will see starting construction in 2021.
I was bothered by some of the comments that employee’s in the drainage department on both the Eastbank and the Westbank had their feet up on their desk, sitting around doing nothing.
This is the farthest thing from the truth; just ask drainage Director Ron Savoy or Assistant Director Davin Duplessis if this behavior is allowed. As Parish President, this is not acceptable and all directors and managers are held accountable by in my administration for the amount of work performed each day. We have some of the best operators and drainage workers around. We also have employee morale and training to improve all employees.
This is the first time, according to our employees, that this training initiative has been undertaken, although hindered by Covid-19.
Even so, much was accomplished. With half staff and working with rotating teams to meet Covid safety protocol. We managed to complete Muddy Creek Drainage Improvement Grant Project (see photographs above at top of page).
Numerous other projects have been completed, others are in the works with significant progress have been made.
Wallace Acres Drainage Improvements Project #EAD-19003. This drainage project consisted of upgrades to an older subdivision in the our parish. Driveway and roadway culverts were replaced, ditches were dug to grade, existing wooden headwalls were replaced and major drainage restored with the subdivisions. There will be a beneficial improvements to the overall drainage in the area as a result of the upgrades. The Certificate of Substantial completion was set for December 2020 drainage board meeting, but meeting was cancelled. It will be presented in January 2021 for approval.
Many projects are in the planning stage.
Louisiana Watershed Initiative Grant applications for Round 1 (five projects submitted by Ascension Parish are moving to full application status by February 2021. Multiple consultants working on the cost benefit and application details. Projects will provide localized flood reduction assistance throughout Ascension Parish.
Bayou Conway Pump Station Upgrades – (Sorrento Pump Station) – Grant project that will upgrade the pump station for better efficiency and reliable operation that will also be able to handle additional future storm water flows. Pre-construction activities to start early 2021 with the project being advertised for bid at the end of 2021.
Marvin Braud Levee System Upgrades – FEMA HMGP grant to upgrade the existing Marvin Braud Levee system to a 100-year design storm. This federal grant will commit $50 million to Ascension Parish’s levee protection system. If awarded, pre-construction activities will commence in 2021. Rebuilt gearbox and drive line on pump #5 at Marvin Braud pump station. Surge Protection is currently in the design phase at Marvin Braud pump station.
Fish Bayou Flood Control Structure – all necessary right-of-way and servitudes have been obtained and the USACE permit has been received and LDWF permit has been received. Currently the project is at 90% design and set to bid for construction in early 2021.
Fish & Frog Bayous Drainage Improvements – all necessary servitudes are set to be obtained on 1/06/2021 and once this occurs, USACE permitting will be applied for de-snagging and shredding of these channels.
Boyle Bayou De-Snagging & Shredding Project – have obtained USACE permit and will begin this project in early 2021 from the Rifle Range Road off of South St. Landry Road to the intersection of Bayou Conway.
Shredding Projects on Major Laterals in 2020 as follows:
- Heath Bayou Lateral shredded from Hwy. 22 to Sevario Canal
- Norwood Road Lateral shredded from Norwood Rd. to Henderson Bayou
- Benton Frederic Lateral shredded from Stringer Bridge to Babin Canal
- Andrews Court/Belle Grove Lateral shredded from Plantation Ct. to Bayou Manchac
Other Drainage Improvements Projects completed in 2020 as follows:
- Charlotte Avenue project removed two (2) yard frontage and upgraded culvert size
- Deck Boulevard project to upgrade culvert and adjusted three (3) box culverts
- Penn Boulevard project to upgrade culvert and adjusted three (3) box culverts
- Autumn View Drive project is on-going for additional culverts behind the Galvez Library in order to solve drainage issues in Autumn View subdivision
- Andrews Court/Belle Grove outfall lateral shredded, ditch dug and landowner negotiated for drainage improvements to be executed.
- Oak Grove Parkway project upgraded for installation of four (4) box culverts
- Woodgate Avenue project upgraded culverts and dug out drainage ditch for adequate flow.
- Tracy Street drainage improvements project consisted of the replacement of one (1) 15” culvert with two (2) 24” culverts at outfall to Black Bayou for improved drainage in area.
- Country Ridge Lateral project to improve drainage by digging out lateral.
Project for the removal of beaver dams as follows:
- Roddy Bayou Lateral off of Hwy. 933
- Removal at upper branch of New River Canal off of Hwy. 30
One of the most important changes in the creation of the Major Waterway Maintenance crew. Not only is this crew responsible of removal of trees, limbs and vegetation from our bayou and canals. They can often be found removing old boats…
refrigerators, washer, dryers, ice boxes…
and other litter…
that clogs up our waterways. This requires coordination and support help from other teams within DPW to achieve open and free flowing waterways whether controlled by pumping stations or gravity feed.
The drainage departments on the East and the West sides have made a lot of improvements from progress on major drainage projects to cleaning or replacing culverts to get water away from people’s homes. I will always stand up for the hard working of the drainage departments and other departments that work hard everyday to accomplish the goals set before them. No drainage protection is perfect, just ask New Orleans who has spent countless 100’s of millions to provide flood protection only to be humbled by Hurricane Katrina. I push these men and women hard to complete their projects regardless of 100 plus degrees in the middle of summer or cold, wet winters, that’s why I will standup for my employees and tell you; you can be proud of them.
And the best is yet to come.
Your Parish President,