New agreement could fast-track Ascension Parish drainage projects
GONZALES - A deal has been reached to make drainage projects in Ascension Parish a priority. With the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, some much needed dredging could be fast-tracked.
The parish will pay the Corps $100,000 per year to get an employee to dedicate their time to Ascension Parish projects. This will help get permits pushed through the system easier. In the past, that process has taken as long as a decade.
“Just on the permit process, not the construction, just to get to the permit approval point,” said Ascension Parish Chief Engineer Joey Tureau. “That part is just crazy. That’s a lot of time where you're not getting any work done. That’s what the Parish is trying to rectify.”
Tureau says the Parish already has drainage projects that are on the top of the to-do list. One of those is removing a weir, or a small dam, in the New River canal, and dredge it.
“[The dam] is meant to maintain a certain amount of water, but with siltation that’s happened over the years, most of the residents know it hasn't always happened,” said Tureau.
Tureau says the canal isn't flowing correctly, so East of the dam in the Gonzales canal is deep. West of the dam, the canal is shallow.
“We just can't drain [all the water] down because of the weir,” said Tureau.
Another project the Parish will be making a priority is adding a drainage structure at the Fish Bayou floodgate to release high water into Bayou Manchac.
With the new agreement, the Parish is hoping to keep these drainage projects moving in the right direction.