DOTD prepares for worst case scenario in Assumption Parish

DOTD prepares for worst case scenario in Assumption Parish
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

ASSUMPTION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Only a dozen or so residents still live near the Bayou Corne sinkhole. However, around 9,000 cars and trucks travel by it on Highway 70 each day.

While things have been quiet at the sinkhole site, the Department of Transportation and Development is preparing for a worst case scenario.

"To shut down Highway 70 is a really big deal. It affects a lot of people, a lot of industry throughout the area," said Assumption Parish Emergency Operations Director John Boudreaux.

According to Boudreaux, Highway 70 was closed for one day shortly after the sinkhole opened up due to concerns about gas. 

Ever since, DOTD has been monitoring the road since for any vertical, lateral or shaking movements. So far, there is no sign that it is in danger or would need to be closed.

However, if that changes DOTD wants to be ready. Officials are already going to through the lengthy process of planning an alternate route, just in case.

"Hope is never a good planning option," said DOTD Director of Emergency Operations Richard Swan. "You can see this has taken quite a lengthy time to get to this point. Imagine if we did nothing and just relied on hope and, God forbid, something bad happen, look how far we'd be behind."

Another important reason to have the plans in place is due to a lack of alternate routes to begin with. If Highway 70 were to close now, cars would have to drive 44 miles out of the way. Heavier, industrial trucks would have to go more than 70 miles. 

Engineers just finished the environmental assessment of the hypothetical new road. The public can weigh in during a public comment period that ends June 29.

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