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Despite no visible progress, DOTD says Comite diversion project still on track

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BATON ROUGE - In the eleventh meeting of the Comite Diversion Task Force, frustrations bubbled over an apparent lack of progress.

"They [projects] all seem to run over for one reason or another, and it's typically weather. But I go out and take pictures and it's sun shining and dry and there's nobody there. It's unacceptable to me," Sen. Bodi White said. 

The committee last met four months ago, in November, and not much has changed since then. 

There are still no shovels in the dirt for the project, but the Corps of Engineers and DOTD say a lot has been going on behind the scenes. are expecting to start construction work soon. 

"As you heard testimony here today, by the time this commission meets again--this task force--they expect to be turning dirt. They expect to be digging the canal. So, well see. It's been a long process," White said. 

The main hold-up, according to DOTD, has been relocating utilities and acquiring property.

"[We offer] fair market value and we're still meeting a lot of resistance as far as acquisition of property," the DOTD project manager said. 

However, the Corps is still promising a completion estimate of next year.

"What I understood you to say, as far as you're concerned, the 2021 date is still a viable date?" Rep. Valarie Hodges asked.

"Oh absolutely," the project manager said. 

Those living in the flood-impacted areas are not so convinced. 

"I think that's extremely optimistic, and if that happens I'll be tickled to death," a resident said during the public comment section. 

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