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'Construction is imminent' in portion of EBR flood reduction project
BATON ROUGE - The first work on a portion of the joint $255 million flood mitigation project between East Baton Rouge Parish and the Army Corps of Engineers is right around the corner, a Corps official told leaders this week.
"By the spring of 2022, you will see actual construction, boots in the ground, dirt being turned," said Nick Sims, an engineer with the Corps. "Construction is imminent."
In the coming months, work on the first half of the 50-mile project along five tributaries in the parish, will begin with clearing and snagging efforts.
First up will be lower Jones Creek from the Amite River to O'Neal Lane, totaling 3.3 miles. Bids opened on this project a few weeks ago, Sims said, with a contract to be awarded in another week or two.
Also included in the first traunch of work is 4.6 miles of Bayou Fountain from Bayou Manchac to Burbank Drive. Advertising for that contract is expected to begin next month.
Advertisement for the contract for 3.3 miles of Ward Creek from Southern Hills Avenue to Pecue Lane should start in April.
All pre-construction work on the Jones Creek and Bayou Fountain projects is complete, Sims says. Ward Creek still needs some real estate arrangements.
"We are still working with the parish to get that construction authorization for entry," Sims said. "That has taken more time than we anticipated, but we are working together on that and I do not see that being a delay. It is contingent on receiving all the real estate to get that contract awarded and going under construction."
Work on each of these waterways is expected to last between nine and 12 months.
"While this is just a portion of the work, there will be great benefit once this work is under construction," Sims said. "Once this is implemented, we're looking at anywhere from six inches to four feet of stage reductions on some of these areas."
The other half of the project, totaling another 38.8 miles of improvements, is not as far along.
That effort will include some channel enlargement and adding concrete riprap, in addition to clearing and snagging, along upper Jones Creek, Blackwater Bayou, and Beaver Bayou.
This part of the project, Sims warns, is more complex and requires additional steps. Beyond land acquisition and utility relocation, environmental analysis is necessary, meaning construction won't start nearly as soon.
"We're looking at starting construction on these [waterways] in 2023," Sims says.
This work is expected to wrap up by the end of 2024.
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