Residents say potholes along River Road could compromise levee

Residents say potholes in St. Gabriel are weakening the levee
Residents say potholes in St. Gabriel are weakening the levee
Residents say potholes in St. Gabriel are weakening the levee
Residents say potholes in St. Gabriel are weakening the levee

ST. GABRIEL, LA (WAFB) - A levee break would be the worst possible scenario for people who live along River Road, but its one that has some people in St. Gabriel anxious.

They say as the Mississippi River rises, the potholes along Highway 141 keep getting bigger.

Among the beautiful pastures and farmland that line the levees of St. Gabriel lies a nasty problem.

"Every time a truck goes through it gets a little deeper, deeper and deeper," landowner Dempsey Pendarvis said.

Pendarvis knows the problem firsthand. He owns farmland just across the street from the Mississippi River levee and said he's gotten stuck in the king-sized craters more than once.

"I've been to Mexico and the roads were in better shape than this," Pendarvis said.

The road is nearly impassable. Pendarvis attempted to walk through one of the potholes so show 9News the depth but had to stop midway and finish his demonstration with measuring tape to stay dry.

"Thirteen and a half inches," Pendarvis measured.

The gravel is washing away. The mud is turning to clay. The road looks more like a lake. But the curb appeal isn't the only thing that has Pendarvis and others who live near worried. They've also got their eyes on the rising Mississippi River.

"If this levee busted it would flood everything between here and Lake Maurepas," Pendarvis said.

Residents said they've tried to contact city, parish and state leaders. While Highway 141 is marked a state highway, they said, no one will take responsibility for the road.

"The state says it was theirs. They gave it to Iberville Parish. I spoke to Iberville Parish and they said they gave it to the city when it was incorporated. The city says, no we stop at blacktop," Pendarvis said.

State Representative Ed Price said he's hitting the same dead end.

"Right now there's confusion about when the state gave up ownership of the road to the parish, and to the town of St. Gabriel. As soon as we find that out we're going to try to get something done," Price said.

People who live near the river hope that solution comes sooner than later.

"This road is not useable and it's very very important to the integrity of this levee," Pendarvis said.

A spokeswoman for the State DOTD said the portion of Highway 141 in question is privately owned. Therefore, the government is not required to make those repairs.