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Comite River Diversion Canal project still in the works, set to be complete by end of 2025

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BATON ROUGE - The Comite River Diversion Canal project has been in the works for nearly 31 years and residents in the capital area still are unsure when the flooding mitigation will be finished. 

Following the great flood of 1983, city officials realized something needed to be done to prevent flooding in Louisiana. Construction for the project was approved in 1992. The completion date for the project has been changed many times.

Originally, the project was due to be finished by December of 2022. Now, the project is set to be finished by the end of December of 2025.

"The sense of urgency has been zero since the very beginning of this project," said Robert Burns with Concerned Citizens for Drainage Improvement.

In 2018, funding for the project finally came after Congressman Garret Graves took the initiative to take the project idea to Washington.

The starting price for the project was $343 million. Now, Graves says the price tag is $907 million.

When complete, the canal will be 12 miles long, connecting the Comite and Mississippi rivers. It will divert about 30 percent of the water into the Mississippi.

Recently, Graves sent Burns an update announcing that 60 percent of the project has been completed as of December 2023—which leaves 40 percent left to finish in 2 years.

Burns believes that the project is not moving fast enough and he worries that the completion date could be pushed back again.

He is also concerned about the threat of another flood in the coming years before the canal is complete.

"In 1969, we flew to the moon. In 2023, we can't even dig a 12 mile ditch," Burns said.

For a full list of everything that must be done in order to complete the canal, click here.

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