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Residents left frustrated after flood control project delayed again

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BATON ROUGE - Residents took to the State Capitol on Thursday to air their complaints about the most recent delay in the Comite River flood control project.

"And now with this Florida Transmission Pipeline situation, you know what my deadline is? My lifetime," Central homeowner Bob Burns.

Burns's home was damaged during the 2016 flood, and he testified at Thursday's meeting before the Comite River Diversion Canal Project Task Force.

"I'm very frustrated, actually I'm shocked," State Representative and Chairperson of the Comite Task Force Valarie Hodges said.

"That we have waited until today, to make a commitment today that we are going to apply for the permits within the next week," Hodges said. "They've known about this for years."

The task force has learned that the Florida Gas Transmission Pipeline Company hasn't started the permitting process for its part of the Comite Diversion. It must relocate some of the underground pipes that are in the way of the canal.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of building the $350 million flood control canal, designed to prevent a repeat of the flood that devastated the area in 2016.

"Am I happy? No. Any delays on a project as important as this one. No one is happy, but we're pushing as hard as we can to get it done," Colonel Stephen Murphy said.

The task force was hoping to have the canal finished sometime next year, but this latest delay could push that back to 2024.


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