The Des Allemands Boat Launch project appears to be edging forward for St. Charles Parish residents this month, as the Lafourche Basin Levee District (LBLD) will soon solicit new construction bids to include construction of an access road for the long-anticipated boat launch.
Following the July 31 unanimous parish council approval of a cooperative agreement between the LBLD and St. Charles Parish government, the LBLD’s Sunset Levee lift project has been revised to include construction of the access road for the upcoming Des Allemands boat launch as a cost-saving measure for both the LBLD and St. Charles Parish.
“The first Sunset Levee Lift that was put out to bid by the Lafourche Basin Levee District came back more than double the estimated cost because of the high dirt cost and because we were spreading a lot of dirt over a long, long distance,” St. Charles Parish President Matt Jewell explained at a recent Parish Council meeting. “What they decided to do [was] come back, work with the parish; we’ve moved this levee lift into two phases by working with the Levee District, and they’re going to bolster that levee up more on that outward coastal facing side.”
The revised bid package will now also include the boat launch access road, a road the LBLD also will temporarily need for the levee lift project, given a nearby privately maintained access road was no longer available for the project.
“So, we’re able now to partner with them to build that access road, we’ll be putting in the dirt for our boat launch as well…we’ll be getting some economies by adding that dirt to this overall project,” Jewell said. “I think it’s a win-win for the parish.”
Donald Ray Henry, Executive Director of the LBLD, explained that the Sunset Levee lift project is being taken on to reduce the risk of storm surge for the Bayou Gauche area. By partnering up with St. Charles Parish government on the project, both entities gain financial benefits.
“We believe that the surcharge volume will entice contractors, creating more competitive bidding that will improve the overall unit cost of the entire project,” Henry said.
The bid process calls for a contractor to be selected roughly 34 calendar days after the initial bid advertisement is placed, allowing an additional one or two days for input and low bidder recommendations from various government agencies. If the bid process produces the desired improved cost result and a contractor is formally selected, Henry said the project is expected to last around ten months once work commences.
“We are still going to maintain our portions where the boat launch is and where the parking lot, but the levee board will be paying for that access road and surcharging it, probably saving the parish in the neighborhood of about $650,000 as well as one to possibly two months [of lead time] because of the excess of trucks that will be running on it…we’re going to get a good [road] compaction, real quick,” St. Charles Parish Chief Administrative Officer Mike Palamone said.
After a few inquiries from council members, the parish council voted eight yeas, zero nays in their decision to approve the cooperative agreement with the LBLD.
“I think it’s a great use of the ad valorum tax that they get from the taxpayers in this parish, and I commend you all for your efforts to put this together,” Council Member At-Large, Division B Holly Fonseca said to parish officials regarding the new cooperative agreement.