$20 million in drainage projects underway in East Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - A $20 million effort to address drainage is officially underway in East Baton Rouge.
Metro Council approved the federally funded flood prevention project Wednesday night and wasted no time getting to work.
Less than 24 hours later, a crew was sent to the Westminster subdivision off of Jefferson Highway to begin clearing the storm drains, but this is just the first of many phases to come.
Officials say starting next week, up to eight crews will be sent all across the capitol area to clear storm drains, which is expected to take about four months.
Once this first phase is complete, crews will focus on channel clearing and grubbing, roadside drainage cave-ins, and line canal panel repair.
So far, over 60,000 drainage boxes have been inspected across the parish and 2,400 of them were clogged and full of sediment.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kelvin Hill says they've identified the segments of laterals that feed into the three major canals in the south end of the parish and will focus on clearing those out as well.
In addition to the clogging issues found in thousands of spots across the capitol city, 1,100 cave-ins have also been detected that will need to be repaired.
"It will help drainage, we're 100% sure of that, and we're happy to get started with that this morning," Hill said.
One long-time resident of the Westminster subdivision, Stephen Punkay, says he's lived in the same home for over 22 years and experienced flooding for the very first time this May.
Punkay says he's not sure if the issue is rooted in the new developments in the area or if the clogged drains are causing the high water to head his way, but officials say the problem is clear.
"The issue really is, if you look in this drain, it's plugged. It's full of sediment and water can't get through. So when it rains here, these boxes here behind me fill with water and the reason it fills up is because water can't get through that box," Hill explained.
Hill also says for those who are concerned about their neighborhood or subdivision getting their drainage system fixed to be patient as they will eventually get to everyone, but these efforts are expected to take months to complete.
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