Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State presents upgrades to Acadian Thruway flooding spot

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BATON ROUGE - An upgrade is in the works to deal with the infamous flooding at the Acadian Thruway underpass in Baton Rouge. It's an issue each time there's heavy rain.

Being one of the lowest points in the area, the spot under the railroad bridge floods, creating a water backup affecting area neighborhoods, businesses, and travel. Thursday, DOTD tells 2 On Your Side's Brittany Weiss that there are plans to make upgrades.

"We have a project that's going to raise the railroad track and move the pillars," said DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett. "That is in preparation for the I-10 widening project. When we do that there's going to be improvements to the Acadian Thruway intersection."

Some of those design improvements are currently being discussed at I-10 widening public meetings.

A survey crew was at the Acadian Thruway underpass Thursday morning. DOTD says the plan is to elevate the existing Kansas City Southern railroad bridge creating a clear span and increase the vertical clearance by about 16 inches. This project is scheduled to go out for bid in January 2020.

"The plan is to improve it and address it as we can but there will still be a low point there," said Mallett.

There is also a planned project to replace the pumps and improve the pumping station at that location. The state says the pumps on Acadian Thruway worked as they should on June 6, but there was nowhere to pump the water because Dawson Creek and other tributaries were full. The pumping project will go out for bid next month.

Barricades lay in the grass and on the median in this area, in the event another heavy rain event takes place. Mallett says the state is also exploring permanent barricade options, including the feasibility of rails, but it's worried that drivers will ignore the warning signs.

"As the people have shown, they drive around the barricades sometimes," said Mallett. We need some driver responsibility as well, but we are looking at that as an option."

Drainage improvements are also on DOTD's radar. Drainage pipes from surrounding areas seem to all lead to the lowest spot on Acadian Thruway. These improvements will be studied as part of the design phase of the I-10 widening project.

The portion of Acadian Thruway was built around 1952 by the City-Parish. The Department of Transportation and Development took the road over in 1982 as part of a road exchange with the City-Parish.


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