EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Areas around East Baton Rouge Parish received up to 5″ of rain during Thursday’s rain storm. Flash flood warnings and rising waters left many families worried.
A common complaint has been drainage issues, a problem city officials say is a top priority.
“The city needs to do its part and you know, in some places we haven’t done a good enough job and that’s what we’re trying to focus on now,” said Fred Raiford, transportation and drainage director for the city-parish.
Raiford says the city finally has the resources to address some of the ongoing drainage issues across the parish. The money, $255 million in federal funds, will be used to improve five major drainage channels:
- Bayou Fountain
- Wards Creek
- Jones Creek
- Beaver Bayou
- Blackwater Bayou
“We’re working with the corp right now, presently to look at what improvements can be made besides just cleaning and snagging. Those things need to be done, but are there any really channel improvements that we can help to make to really facilitate really moving water from one place to the other,” Raiford said.
He also says the city is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to find the best plan of action to handle what they’re calling a “regional effort” for flood control. He says they hope to see the projects begin by mid-2019.
One resident says these projects couldn’t come sooner. “I’m just glad to see that some of the civil projects are at least being talked about and funded and ultimately executed so that when we get three and four inches of rain like we did in the last 24 hours, so that everyone doesn’t have to go through what we went through of course a couple of years ago,” said David Hofstetter, owner of Restoration One.
However Raiford, says heavy rain events, although scary, are important for their plans to reduce flooding. “This rain, whether we like it or not, is providing us a lot of data to determine where improvements can be made without creating problems others places.”