Ama levee on the way
"We met with St. Charles Parish President V. J. St. Pierre and some of the council members this week," Jerry Spohrer, executive director of the West Jefferson Levee District, said. "We discussed the current alignment option and we all agreed that turning the West Bank Levee to Highway 90 and tying it into the Davis Pond Diversion project is the best way to go."
Spohrer says that engineer studies have all been completed for this proposal and the outcome was favorable.
"On May 15, there will be a public meeting held at Cytech on River Road in Waggaman so that the public can have input on this proposal," he said. "We first approached St. Charles Parish about this idea in 1999, but things slowed down and money dried up a bit."
Spohrer says it's a shame that things take so long when dealing with the federal government.
"What we do know is the Army Corps of Engineers is committed to having this project complete by 2011," he said. "The permitting process is also lengthy."
Spohrer says no permit is needed for the Jefferson Parish portion of the project, but environmental hurdles still have to be climbed.
"There is some opposition to this alignment that goes below Highway 90," he said. "Environmentalists have said that by doing the project this way we will be impacting some high quality wetlands."
St. Charles Parish still needs permission from the corps and the Department of Natural Resources for its portion of the project.
"We think there is enough evidence as to why this alignment south of Highway 90 is the best option," he said. "There may be some mitigation we have to perform to address some of those environmental issues."
The original plan would have taken the alignment down south to Kenner Road all the way to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
"We didn't think that was a good idea, so we suggested that a better alternative would be to tie it into the Davis Pond Diversion project in order to complete our levee," he said. "We still need Coastal Zone Management to confer on our plan."
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