Parish secures final permit for West Bank levee

From staff and wire reports
March 22, 2013 at 10:11 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish has received a permit to construct Phase III (Ellington Phase) of its much-needed West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources gave final approval of the permit, which includes an earthen levee, drainage canals, tidal exchange structures, concrete t-walls and a new pump station with an estimated pumping capacity of 1,000 cubic feet of water per second. Two existing pump stations will continue to facilitate interior drainage as part of this phase.

Phase III runs south of the Mimosa Park subdivision and stretches 3.1 miles to protect homes, businesses and industry in the communities of Luling, Boutte and Hahnville, tying in at Magnolia Ridge in Boutte. At this time, the parish is moving forward with surveying, land acquisition, soil testing and design.

"Functional hurricane protection for the entire West Bank of St. Charles Parish is now much closer to reality," St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said.

The permit receipt comes as the parish gears up to advertise for bid on the construction of the first of five parts of levee Phase II (Willowridge), to be built just south of the subdivision of the same name in Luling. Plans and specifications are currently going through final reviews with the state. Phase II also includes the construction of an additional 300 cubic-feet-per-second pump station.

Parish officials will be announcing the date and location of a town hall meeting soon regarding the construction of Phase II (Willowridge).

The entire 10-mile project is estimated to cost $150 million. The parish continues to seek funding assistance from the federal government and other sources to expedite construction.

The parish is currently working with CPRA and the Lafourche Basin Levee District to have the entire West Bank levee system incorporated into the state’s Coastal Master Plan, including the Davis Diversion West Guide Levee, the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee and the Sunset Drainage District Levee with a floodgate at Bayou Des Allemands.

Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall in late August, demonstrated the vulnerability of St. Charles Parish’s West Bank. Isaac produced tropical storm-force winds for a 57-hour period within the parish. Parish officials say that a storm of similar strength on a tract 50 miles west would have caused widespread devastation on the West Bank similar to flooding and damage seen in St. John the Baptist and Plaquemines parishes.

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