Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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City's building sidewalks, residents want drainage fixed first

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BATON ROUGE - Darrell Rivers says putting up a two-foot wall around his property is better than worrying about whether or not the rain will cause his property to flood.

"When it rains we get anxious," Rivers said.

Rivers has lived on Letitia Street off of Hundred Oaks Avenue for the last three years. He says each time it rains he's concerned his street will do the same thing it's done time and time again - hold water. That's what happened Thursday, April 4, as water lapped up to his front step. Other residents in the Zeeland Place neighborhood had the same experience.

Rivers and his neighbors say they've reached out for help regarding their street flooding and haven't received a response. Tuesday, 2 On Your Side met with residents and Director of Transportation and Drainage Fred Raiford. Residents, including Rivers, aired their concerns over the lack of progress to fix their problem, which Raiford says he's aware of.

"Unfortunately the pipe sizes are not always ideal for the rain events we're having in today's world," Raiford said.

Raiford said Tuesday, a crew will take a video of the drainage system to find out if there's a problem down the line. If there is an obstruction, he says it will be addressed.

Residents living along Letitia Street are happy to hear that, but they're also concerned that before their flooding issues are addressed the parish is installing new sidewalks along an area that floods.

The 75-day project is part of the Green Light Plan and broke ground on April 15. It will expand accessibility and alternative modes of transportation along the south side of Perkins Road from Virgil Street to Pliny Street. The project was voted on by residents and awarded funding in 2016. It will cost about $88,000. There are already sidewalks along the north side of Perkins Road.

While Rivers is aware it doesn't rain every day, he says that things are being done out of order.

"My immediate reaction was that it's an out-of-sequence move," Rivers said. "When you have such an outdated drainage system I think the best move would be to be proactive and solve that larger problem before putting in a sidewalk and a bus stop which will flood when it rains."

Residents remain hopeful they'll hear back from Raiford soon.


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