Board set to award contracts for East Bank levee upgrade in 2008
Marti Lucore, project manager for the Lake Pontchartrain/St. Charles Hurricane Protection Project, says the East Bank levee will be complete by June 2011.
“The levee will be built to 100-year stability,” Lucore said. “But maintenance and general upkeep will have to be done once the work is complete,”
Lucore says the project’s cost will be shared.
“Cost sharing means 70 percent of the fees are paid by the government and 30 percent will be paid by the levee board,” she said. “That amount is usually a cash payment due at the end of each completion phase.”
Because of this, the levee board is trying to do a lot of the work themselves so they won’t owe as much for their 30 percent share of the cost.
“We’re giving the levee board credit for doing the work on the levee,” she said. “It just makes the work they’ve put into the levee lessen the amount of money due at the end of the project,” she said.
The board plans to award contracts for the completion of the levee by late 2008.
The meeting held Dec. 6 in St. Rose was attended by, councilwoman-elect Caroline Schexnaydre, councilman-elect Terry Authement, and parish president-elect V.J. St. Pierre.
“It sounds like a solid plan,” Schexnaydre said. “And I’m glad it will be complete soon.”
Authement, lives on the west bank of the parish, but says he’s concerned about levee protection for everyone.
“I heard a lot of positive things in the meeting and I think it was important about them giving credits,” Authement said. “Presentation was very informative; they talked about the different projects they are working on from Kenner to the spillway.”
Lucore says dirt used from the Bonnet Carre Spillway will be used to heighten the levee to the required height to prevent storm surge.
“We use dirt with a high clay content, because our research shows that it’s better to build a levee with this kind of material,” she said. “The levee will be elevated to meet the 16.5 to 18-foot height requirement.”
Lucore says wetlands serve as the first line of protection during a hurricane, but they can’t be relied upon as the only source of protection.
“If we get a storm surge, the theory is the wetlands slows things the down, but we have to take every scenario into consideration when working on projects like this,” Lucore said. “We can’t assume the trees and marsh are going to be there in the next 50 years when we model designs and projects for the future.”
Clarence Simoneaux, a Destrehan resident was also in attendance and has some concerns that if the levee isn’t built at least 10 feet higher, his home is prone to massive flooding, if a hurricane like Katrina pushes floodwaters from Lake Pontchartrain over the embankment.
“I lost my vacation home to 20 feet of flooding during Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “That home was in Waveland, Miss.”
Simoneaux hopes that the project’s completion will protect his Destrehan home from the mighty waters of Lake Pontchartrain.
“We live three to four miles from the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain,” he said. “I just hope the project is successful and the levee is elevated to the necessary height like they told us in the meeting.”