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Parish plans to address 1,100 sinkholes in next couple of months

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BATON ROUGE - Orange barricades dot neighborhoods across East Baton Rouge Parish, blocking off sinkholes that the city-parish has been trying to fix. There are hundreds, and crews are about to start filling them.

Many of these sinkholes are caused by leaking or damaged stormwater and drain lines turning some parts of Baton Rouge into swiss cheese. Four of them, are on Vernon Dodd's property in Carrington Place.

"It just kept getting worse over time," Dodd said.

Two of the holes are in his side yard, and two others are in his fenced-in backyard. Each one is surrounded by orange netting and held in place with tall wooden stakes. He says he first noticed them in 2016 and started calling the city-parish.

"I failed to get any response for a long time. Then finally they sent a gentleman out to put these red mesh barricades around every one of them," Dodd said.

Those barricades have been up ever since, going on three years now. Dodd says he's not sure why it's taking so long to make the repairs, but he's even been asked by his HOA to do something about the eyesore.

"I don't know if it's total lack of manpower or just poor management," he said.

But it didn't take long for Dodd to notice a pattern. One that the city-parish has already recognized and plans to address. According to parish data, there is a log of 1,100 drainage cave-ins that have been accumulating for quite some time. The city-parish says some are pending service requests, other issues were identified in the Stormwater Master Plan.

Addressing these cave-ins is the next step in the $20 million initiative, along with roadside ditch-digging. The work will need to go through the public bid process, so it could be a couple of months before the work starts.

There are multiple holes surrounded by orange barricades scattered around Dodd's neighborhood. He says other neighborhoods in the area have the same problem. It's worrisome to him.

"I have several grandchildren. I've got three of them here right now. They like to play in the backyard, and I'm always concerned about them falling in one of those holes," he said.

He's also getting tired of mowing around them. This is why he's looking forward to the day when his yard is in pristine shape once again.

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