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Sinkhole repairs could take another year, firm hired to find solution

2 years 3 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, February 23 2022 Feb 23, 2022 February 23, 2022 6:51 PM February 23, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A hole in Azalea Lakes is getting bigger, but the parish says it's because a neighborhood is unwilling to help out.

Tuesday, the City-Parish visited the spot to brainstorm a temporary fix to stop the land from eroding.

Kristin Prejean's dad lives on the property where that hole is. She says she never thought she would be waiting this long for a solution. It's been almost two years.

"It continues to cave-in," she said.

There is a busted stormwater drainage pipe underground. That pipe drains water from the street into a lake surrounded by homes. The City-Parish initially suggested the lake should be lowered to make repairs, but the neighborhood has declined that option.

"The homeowner's association said they would not lower the lake, too much liability, I'm assuming," Prejean said.

The parish says the Azalea Lake cave-in repairs are outside the capacity of the Department of Maintenance without the lake being lowered. It has hired an engineering firm to draft up a plan for repairs. The City-Parish says it must be prudent on behalf of taxpayers to find the most cost-efficient repair option. The parish is concerned that the current lake water level, which it says is managed by the homeowners, greatly increases the cost of the maintenance repairs.

The City-Parish says it is looking to replace all 16 of the neighborhood's outfalls at once since four of them are having issues. The pipes are at least 30 years old. The repairs will take time, and right now it's trying to find a temporary solution to stop the erosion.

"They're talking about putting some rocks in to stop the erosion of the property," Prejean said. "We're kind of wondering how that's going to work if we put rocks in the system, how is the water going to drain from the street during heavy rain?"

Prejean says the busted pipe is already causing drainage issues and thinks the issue should be addressed in phases instead of holistically. Not only are they having flooding concerns, but the hole is deep and poses an everyday safety hazard.

"You risk somebody getting injured," she said. "Our hands are tied so we have to sit and wait because it's the parish drainage system."

There are also utilities at risk of falling into the hole. An Entergy box that feeds a handful of homes, is teetering on the edge.

The parish says it will continue to work with the neighborhood to find the best solution, but one might not be ready until 2023.

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