Fill in Airline Highway borrow bit, prevent deaths

Letters to the Editor
June 08, 2009 at 9:20 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Dear Editor,
I hope each of you had a great Memorial Day weekend. I know one family which did not have a great weekend. Of course I am referring to the Richard family who lost Dorothy on Friday. In the humblest way I would like to address the borrow pit problem and possibly offer a better solution.

For years people have died in the Airline borrow pit. In 2004 a commission was formed to find a solution. We are now in 2009 and the best they have devised is to place a cable next to the borrow pit, which everyone agrees may throw the accident back into other traffic. I think there is a better solution.

It was indicated to me that the borrow pit is a drainage canal and must retain water. I don't agree since in Norco and at the I-310 base it is filled and no flooding occurs. But I am willing to concede that it is needed for drainage since it is attached by culverts to the wetlands on the riverside of Hwy 61.

For arguments sake let's say we must keep the drainage borrow pit. The solution is to fill the borrow pit so that is it no deeper than 4-5 feet. In 5 feet of water a high percentage of people would survive. Also, most citizens would be able to rescue a person in 5 feet of water.

Finally, what difference would it make in drainage if 24 inches of rain falls into a 5 foot deep pit or a 17 foot pit (I have measured the depth at the Ormond bridge and it is 17 feet). The pit is still going to rise 24 inches regardless of the depth.

I have spoken with several landowners along the borrow pit and they are willing to have their part of the pit filled. I have also contacted a couple of excavation companies and they are willing to dump their excess dirt in the borrow pit at no expense. Of course this item would have to be monitored.

If anyone can or would like to respond, please indicate to me the flaws in this idea.

Dr. Benny Jones
New Orleans

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