Ascension Parish officials taking 'aggressive' approach to Cristobal storm preps
ASCENSION PARISH - Ahead of Tropical Storm Cristobal’s anticipated landfall along the Louisiana coast, officials in Ascension Parish say they’re taking an “aggressive” approach in their preparations.
Parish President Clint Cointment declared a state of emergency for the parish ahead of this weekend’s weather. On Friday, crews with the department of public works were busy clearing out residential ditches.
Cointment says that it’s one of the most common drainage problems in the parish – blockages in culverts near peoples’ homes that could lead to localized flooding. He hopes their efforts this week help deter that from taking place.
Parish DPW workers teamed up with workers from the Town of Sorrento to tackle some of these issues in known trouble spots.
“About two weeks ago we had a big rain and this area retained a lot of water,” Sorrento Mayor Mike Lambert said.
A clogged up culvert caused water to seep in one home along Lee Street when that happened. With Tropical Storm Cristobal expected to bring heavy rain, they want to make sure water can move freely and drain properly without hitting a snag.
“So this is our pump truck, and what they’re doing is sending a hose with a fitting on it that blows all that out. And that clears the culvert from debris. So that allows this water to get out of here into our main drainage structures,” Cointment said.
“We emerged out of our every day ditch-digging routine work order work to isolated blockages that people are calling us about. Let's do everything we can before this weather event gets here and open these areas up,” DPW Director Ron Savoy said.
Over on White Road in Prairieville, crews had to rely on their own manpower instead of machines to clear out a double drainage culvert that’s been backing up for weeks according to residents.
Their efforts along residential streets are just one part of the parish’s storm prep checklist. Since Monday of this week, they’ve been checking off items from that list as they shift focus from the COVID-19 pandemic to this tropical storm.
“This is a parish-wide initiative so not only at Lamar Dixon are we prepping that facility, just in case. But also, the pumping stations, we’re gearing those up,” Cointment said.
The Marvin Braud Pumping Station is expected to be turned on Saturday morning, so boaters should be cautious of water levels in the area. The parish's two other main pumping stations are also on standby should water levels rise significantly. And the flood gate along Alligator Bayou Road has already been opened to free up more wetland space for rainfall from Cristobal.
Cointment says because of the unpredicted rainfall that specific areas could see, he wants residents to be equally as aggressive with their preparations.
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