Southern University gets $10 million for road improvements

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The state of Louisiana is dedicating $10 million to improve damaged and eroded roads that run through the campus of Southern University to the Mississippi River.

Governor John Bel Edwards made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday. $7.5 million of the $10 million will come from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. DOTD is funding most of the remaining $2.5 million cost of the project, with Southern, the board of regents, and the city of Baton Rouge contributing as well.

The erosion is impacting critical infrastructure and utilities on campus and causing safety concerns for the university. Edwards toured the damages on the campus in June, including a temporary bridge and a partially collapsed road.

"This issue has been a priority not just for the university but also for the state of Louisiana as we have worked to provide funding and temporary fixes over the years; however, this ongoing problem merits a permanent solution, which is why I pledged a $10 million dollar investment as part of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to address the long-term threat posed by this erosion," Gov. Edwards said in a written statement.

President Ray Belton says eroding roads have been a problem for years, and it was made worse by the August flood.

"This campus has suffered from erosion for a number of years so it's been a long-standing issue,"
said Belton. "But the recent flooding has caused significant acceleration of the erosion and we are reacting to that."

Belton says he wants construction to start as soon as possible. Most of the construction will take place along F street and H street on Southern's campus.

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