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Residents, lawmakers frustrated over perceived lack of Comite diversion progress

10 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago Thursday, July 27 2023 Jul 27, 2023 July 27, 2023 6:03 PM July 27, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

Though the nearly $1 billion Comite diversion project is now fully funded and about 50 percent complete, lawmakers and residents are losing patience with how long it's taking.

"We have all the money we need," said Rep. Valerie Hodges. "Money is not the problem. Money is not the issue. It is an issue of manpower and mobilizing and doing everything we can."

The Corps and DOTD gave the task force a progress update this morning, but what they heard wasn't all that different from the last meeting four months ago.

There is one main question on everyone's lips; how can they push up that late 2025 completion date?

"Is there any way to speed that up at all?" asked Hodges.

"We're looking at it and anything we can do, we will, but we also want to give you a realistic schedule", said Nick Sims with USACE. "We don't want to tell you this date and then they push it again. I know everybody is tired of hearing that."

The Corps says rain delays are built into their expected schedule, but for those who experienced flooding in 2016, patience has run thin.

"I know everyone has good intentions, but you cannot wrap good intentions around my house and keep it dry," said Robert Burns. "You gotta build this canal."

There is some good news though: FEMA will take into account the effects of the project before it's complete and re-evaluate the flood maps, which could result in some homeowners no longer needing flood insurance, and others getting lower rates.

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