St. Charles Herald-Guide

Town hall meeting will discuss construction of Willowridge levee

Jonathan Menard - May 3, 2013

St. Charles Parish will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 9 to discuss construction of the Willowridge phase of the West Bank hurricane protection levee.

The parish has acquired all land necessary to build the Willowridge portion of the project except for a disputed 375-acre conservation easement that is currently tied up it litigation. However, parish officials say they currently have the funds to construct the Willowridge phase and plan to go out for bids on the first section of the five-part construction project soon.

When completed, the Willowridge phase will consist of a 7-foot-high levee to encase the Willowdale/Willowridge area. The project also includes a drainage canal and retention area on the dry side of the levee. A pump station would have to be built to move the water over the levee, according to the permit.

The focus of the meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Elementary School gym, is to discuss the construction process of the first phase of the Willowridge levee project. The meeting is targeted to residents in the subdivisions that will be impacted the most.

Public Works Director Sam Scholle will start the meeting with an overview of the protection needs for the entire West Bank and give a brief history of the levee system. Michael Chopin, of Burk-Kleinpeter, will follow with a logistical overview of Willowridge levee construction to include the haul road, truck traffic and methods of debris and tree removal.

According to parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson, the parish plans to have work stations and smaller groups set up to answer individual questions. If the crowd ends up being too large for that format, Simpson said that the public will be instead asked to submit questions.