No relief from Comite diversion project until 2021 hurricane season at the earliest
CENTRAL – A complete Comite Diversion Canal would ease some flooding worries in the capital region during the flood watch, but relief for homeowners is at least another year away.
“The work on the Comite diversion so far, I don't think it's going to help this hurricane season,” Congressman Garret Graves said.
Despite that outlook, he says there has been movement on the project which has been in the works for decades.
“The first major construction contract has been issued, which is exciting,” Graves said. “To date, we've done some smaller utility relocation. But this one is over $50 million.”
Graves says clearing work along the canal is virtually done. Next will be construction of a railroad bridge on U.S. 61 over the future 12-mile long canal that will divert Comite River water to the Mississippi River.
“I have no doubt that we are on an unstoppable path at this point,” Graves said. “We will have better flood protection in this region by the end of next year without a doubt. It may not be completely finished with all the I's and T's dotted and crossed, but there's no question by the end of next year we will have better flood protection in the capital region."
The project is expected to be complete at the end of 2021. Graves said the biggest challenge for the project will be acquiring property along the canal.
Nearly $400 million is set aside for the construction.