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EBR completes long-awaited Comite River clean-up; more than 7,000 tons of debris removed

2 months 4 days 18 hours ago Wednesday, October 04 2023 Oct 4, 2023 October 04, 2023 12:16 PM October 04, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

East Baton Rouge leaders say the city-parish has finished a long overdue project aimed at cleaning up the Comite River, an effort they hope will improve drainage and mitigate flooding within the parish.

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's office announced Wednesday that the $3 million clean-up project had run its course after getting clearance to start clearing and snagging the river earlier this year. The river went nearly 60 years without an organizing effort to remove debris. 

The mayor's office said more than 7,843 tons of debris were removed from the river during the months-long effort. 

Read the full announcement below. 

"Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced today the successful completion of the Comite River Cleaning Project, a major effort to enhance drainage in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The Comite River plays a pivotal role in draining the cities of Baker, Central, Zachary, and the northern areas of Baton Rouge. Spanning over 20 miles from its mouth at the Amite River, upstream past the Comite River Diversion Canal, nearly reaching Highway 64, this critical cleaning project will be instrumental in reducing potential flood hazards. The project began in March 2023 and removed 7,843 tons of debris.

Mayor Broome's administration, in collaboration with the City of Central, and with the approval of the Metropolitan Council, dedicated a total budget of $3 million to make this project a reality. The City-Parish contributed $2.5 million, while the City of Central contributed an additional $500,000, demonstrating a unified commitment to the welfare and safety of the local communities.

This achievement is part of a broader initiative by Mayor Broome to improve drainage systems across East Baton Rouge Parish. Since June 2021, City-Parish has invested approximately $35 million in projects, largely funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds and Carry Forward Funds in the General Fund, to enhance drainage infrastructure throughout East Baton Rouge Parish.

“This larger drainage initiative includes the removal of 25.4 million pounds of debris from 96 miles of drain pipes and 4,573 storm drain structures. Additionally, more than 20,000 tons of debris have been removed in various creeks and bayous, including Bayou Manchac, Claycut Bayou, Ward Creek, and Elbow Bayou,” said Mayor Broome. “My administration remains dedicated to enhancing drainage infrastructure, reducing flood risks, and ensuring the continued growth and prosperity of East Baton Rouge Parish.”

Future channel cleaning projects in East Baton Rouge Parish, under Mayor Broome’s administration, include Dawson Creek, Whites Bayou, and Cypress Bayou. The larger drainage initiative has also repaired 946 sinkholes (includes catch basins and pipes), resolved 822 road-side ditches and drainage issues, and rehabilitated 10 concrete-lined canals, all contributing to the overall resilience and safety of East Baton Rouge Parish.

To ensure transparency and keep the public informed about drainage projects in East Baton Rouge, an online Geographic Information System (GIS) Dashboard is available at https://brla.gov/DrainageProjects. This resource provides real-time updates and information regarding many ongoing drainage initiatives.

Looking ahead, Mayor Broome's administration is working to partner with Livingston Parish to clean the Amite River, which is the most significant drainageway in the region, benefiting thousands of residents and businesses."

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