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Flood relief underway with Jones Creek debris cleaning project

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BATON ROUGE - Flood relief is on the way for many parts of East Baton Rouge Parish. For weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on pulling more than 2,000 cubic yards of debris from Jones Creek.

"I never knew there was so much trash and old logs until they made this pile that's, like, 20 feet up in the air. And so, obviously, it's something that needs to be done," Darla Hartley told WBRZ.

Hartley lives near the creek and says her neighbors have flooded after heavy rainfalls. That worry is soon going to wash away.

"Now, after a couple of legislative sessions, and a whole lot of collaboration, the planning and funding have all come together," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.

Local and federal officials announced 50 miles of waterways are being cleared of debris. It's part of the East Baton Rouge Parish flood risk reduction project, paid for by the federal government.

"This project is about $255 million. I do think we're going to come back and try to get some additional funds later," Congressman Garret Graves, R-LA, said.

Crews started with Jones Creek, but the project also includes Ward Creek, Bayou Fountain, Beaver Bayou and Black Water Bayou.

"These canals weave all through our neighborhoods through our communities," Graves said. "This is about getting the water out of our streets, out of our yards faster and, ultimately, out to the Amite river and the Gulf of Mexico."

Officials say clearing out the waterways isn't all they have done. Broome announced Thursday crews have cleaned 16 million pounds of debris out of nearly 60 miles of underground drainage pipes.

"We are looking right now to do further improvements. Things like concrete, opening up some of the bridge crossings and other solutions that will allow even better flow out of here. Out of the neighborhoods, communities and keeping the water out of our homes," Graves said.

The project is expected to last several years. In a few months, crews will start to work on Bayou Fountain. Some of the canals will be enlarged, and rip-rap will be added.

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