LULING – Public Works crews since Thursday have been busy filling, delivering and placing 2,000-pound sandbags in at least 11 low spots along the ring ditch that surrounds Willowridge subdivision.
The goal is to slow down high tide conditions from the adjacent marsh, allowing Cousins pumping station to catch up and rid street-side open swale ditches of the high water recently plaguing the neighborhood. Sandbags are brought on pallets via flatbed truck, offloaded with a forklift and placed with a crane.
Public Works Superintendent Steve Truitt said the incoming water is a result of the recent warm weather and high winds. Public Works has been granted a permit by regulatory agencies to fill nearly 350 sandbags with excavated sand in the Bonnet Carre Spillway and place them behind Willowridge.
"It’s really come to our attention, not only now, but for quite some time, that we needed to take action to better protect this low-lying area," Truitt said. "The tidal water seeping in causes a circulation of sorts, forcing our pump station to run almost 24/7. These measures should help alleviate that problem."
The recent receipt of a permit to construction Phase 2 of the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee and payment of wetlands mitigation costs for the phase paved the way for approval of the work. The completed West Bank Levee is the permanent solution to the area’s tidal issues, Truitt said.
"Parish drainage and roads crews really pulled together to make this sandbag project happen," he said. "Luckily we will be able to leave these bags in place until the main levee can be built."
Truitt emphasized that the sandbag work would not offer any additional protection in the face of storm surge from a tropical storm or hurricane event and that residents should heed warnings from officials regarding sheltering and/or evacuation.