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Levee route through parish still undetermined

Our View -   May 04, 2006

The good news is that the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning a hurricane protection levee along the west bank of the Mississippi River from Plaquemines Parish through St. Charles to Donaldsonville.

The bad news is that it won’t even be started until 2009.

Project manager Frank Duarte discussed the project at the St. Charles Parish Council meeting Monday night. He said two routes are likely - - either south of U. S. 90 or south of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway which passes below Lake Salvadore.

The route along U. S. 90 could possibly tie-in with the levee already under construction in St. Charles protecting populated areas of the west bank. But the route along the Intracoastal would be less than half as long and cheaper to construct.

Environmental groups reportedly have objected to the more southern route because it could block natural drainage. But structures that would let the water through would be provided.

Since a feasibility study on the project won’t even be completed until 2007, it is difficult to give an opinion on any route that would attempt to protect our area of southeast Louisiana. But it appears that at this point we are talking about two different levee systems - - one further south to offer overall protection to southeast Louisiana and another to protect low residential areas already in existence from flooding.

We still maintain that the most important protection we can have from hurricanes would be to rebuild the coast to offer more resistance to killer storms. That would make our future much more secure.

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